The national basketball teams of the Philippines picked up opening day wins in the basketball tournaments of the 29th Southeast Asian Games in contrasting styles, with Perlas Pilipinas winning big over Singapore while the Gilas Pilipinas did just enough to fend off Thailand.
Perlas Pilipinas 88 – Singapore 54
Fresh off a gallant campaign in the 2017 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup just a few weeks ago, Perlas Pilipinas began their SEA Games redemption tour with a statement win over Singapore.
Perlas struggled against the same opponent two years ago in the edition held in Singapore, but in the game, they showed the disparity in how they looked a few years back and how they play together now.
The Filipinas threw their weight around in the first half, leading by 14, and kept adding to the margin. A 26-11 third quarter enabled them to pull away for good. Forward Allana Lim was instrumental in that stretch, as she attacked the interior. The substitutes then finished the job for the Philippines.
Afril Bernardino was an efficient 7-of-11 from the floor for 16 points and 10 rebounds. Janine Pontejos had 13 points including three conversions from the outside. Camille Sambile contributed 10 points.
Perlas is shooting for the first-ever gold medal in women’s hoops and is trying to redeem itself after a dismal campaign in 2015 which saw them miss the podium.
Gilas Pilipinas 81 – Thailand 74
In men’s basketball, Gilas was able to hold off Thailand in a thrilling match-up which saw the debut of Tyler Lamb for the Thais.
The Philippines started out strong, leading by double-digits in the second quarter before Thailand’s go-to scorer Chitchai Ananti caught fire to help Thailand pull within 36-34 entering the break.
In the third quarter, it was Lamb who found his stroke and gave Thailand the lead. Gilas once again had difficulties executing against the zone defense.
Gilas led by just one entering the fourth, and it wasn’t long before their opponents stole the lead. But a change in approach against the zone wherein Gilas attacked the middle either via pick and rolls or entry passes gave them some cushion.
Troy Rosario scored on a jump hook inside and Christian Standhardinger nailed an elbow jumper. Later, Kiefer Ravena and Baser Amer sank jumpers while Standhardinger hit the dagger lay-up off a nice find by Amer.
Gilas didn’t win just because of their offense but also because of forcing stops. A steal by Ray Parks particularly led to a loose ball foul by Lamb, causing him to foul out halfway in the fourth quarter.
Rosario (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Standhardinger (15 points, 10 rebounds) both had double-doubles for Gilas. Rosario shot 7-of-11 from the field. Parks added 14 markers and four steals while Ravena had 11.
Gilas, though, were out-rebounded 50-42 and made only six triples, some aspects of the game they need to address moving forward.
Lamb led Thailand with 17 points while Ananti had 11 although he scored everything in the first half. Kanut Samerjai chipped in 12 markers.