Gilas Pilipinas Men could not overcome the stacked odds put against them in Auckland, New Zealand.
Against a complete and imposing New Zealand squad, the undermanned Filipinos were dealt a crushing 60-106 blow in their penultimate game in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers’ first window, Thursday at EventFinda Stadium.
The Tall Blacks completed their four-game rout of Group A, winning all of their games with double-digit margins — including an 88-63 win over Gilas last February 27.
Gilas, meanwhile, will still face India on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
All three nations will still advance to the next round which begins on August 25.
As expected, the floodgates opened early in the contest.
“Very tough night for this young team. We came across a Tall Blacks team that is playing with high intensity and very good execution,” lamented Gilas head coach Nenad Vucinic. “We struggled to contain them in that part of the game — physicality, intensity, and speed. And we struggled offensively to get things going.”
Down 15-23 early in the second quarter, Gilas’ defense collapsed, letting the Tall Blacks go on a 22-5 spurt to blow the game wide open.
Gilas went cold during the quarter, going 3-of-15 for the entire quarter to fall behind 47-21 at the half.
Already down big, Gilas were dealt a huge blow in the final frame after Carl Tamayo banged knees with Tom Vodanovich. Tamayo had to be carried out of the game.
Tamayo ended the night with 16 points 6-of-10 shooting from the field with five rebounds.
Ruthless were the Kiwis to close out the game, pushing the lead to as high as 46 points, 102-56, with 2:42 remaining.
All in all, six Tall Blacks scored in double-figures with Dion Prewster leading the way with 15 points built on three treys.
Finn Delany got 14 points and seven rebounds while Ethan Rusbatch and Jordan Ngatai added 12 markers apiece. Corey Webster also produced a line of 11 points, five assists, and three rebounds while Shea Ili scored four of his 10 points from the stripe.
Every Tall Black fielded by Pero Cameron scored in the contest.
“It is a good thing for the young players to understand at what level we need to be in for high level international basketball. Tall Blacks have dominated us in all aspects of the game and it will help us to get better in the future,” said Vucinic, who coached the Tall Blacks back in the early 2010s.
Abando was the other double-digit scorer for Gilas with 11 points.
Checked were Kiefer Ravena and Dwight Ramos in the game with the former going just 3-of-10 from the field for just six points while the latter got just six points on 2-of-11 shooting.
Philippines 60 – Tamayo 16, Abando 11, Lopez 8, Ramos 6, Ravena 6, Quiambao 4, Belangel 3, Chiu 2, Navarro 2, Abarrientos 2, Ildefonso 0.
New Zealand 106 – Prewster 15, Delany 14, Ngatai 12, Rusbatch 12, Webster 11, Ili 10, Vodanovich 8, Britt 7, Cameron 6, Smith-Milner 5, Timmins 4, Harris 2.
Quarterscores: 13-23, 21-47, 43-73, 60-106.