Gilas Pilipinas commenced its 19th Asian Games men’s basketball campaign in dominant fashion following an 89-61 decimation of Bahrain, Tuesday at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium in China.
Justin Brownlee finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, alongside three assists, three steals, and a block to lead the Filipino cagers, who hardly showed any ill effect of manpower woes they encountered prior to the continental meet.
CJ Perez and Ange Kouame provided 15 points apiece as the young guns helped the three-time PBA Best Import in the second-quarter breakaway that eventually enabled the crew to seize the provisional lead in Group C (1-0).
The Philippines only held a slim two-point lead early in the said period until Perez got going on offense and produced seven straight points.
Brownlee then did his part shortly after, and Kouame began to chip in to inflate their lead to 42-24 with 3:34 left. It was a 20-4 run all in all.
It would be all Gilas the rest of the way. Coach Tim Cone’s wards even led by as many as 34, 89-55, following a Kevin Alas bucket with 1:29 left to play.
Calvin Oftana supplied 10 points in the win that saw the squad shoot 46-percent from the floor and dominate the rebounding battle, 52-38.
Now, they turn their attention to Southeast Asian rivals Thailand on Thursday at 11 a.m., looking to go 2-0 and move closer to clinching the group’s top seed.
Maitham Isa, on the other hand, led Bahrain with 14 points in the loss. Mosti Rashed made 13 points, while his brother Ali Rashed added 12.
The locals picked it up as the team received only five points from Wayne Chism, who appeared to have been shaken up in the second period following a drive to the basket. Still, he played for 26 minutes and had 13 rebounds.
Bahrain (0-1) will now turn its attention to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Jordan on Thursday as well in a battle of West Asian teams.
Philippines (89) – Brownlee 20, Perez 15, Kouame 15, Oftana 10, Fajardo 8, Lassiter 8, Thompson 5, Newsome 3, Alas 2, Aguilar 2, Ross 1, Tolentino 0.
Bahrain (61) – Isa 14, Rashed M. 13, Rashed A. 12, Buallay 8, Melad 6, Chism 5, Hamooda 3, Alhaddad 0, Alhassan 0, Kadhem 0, Hasan 0.
Quarterscores: 22-18, 51-33, 72-47, 89-61.