By Justine Bacnis
Matthew Wright and Marcio Lassiter displayed fine marksmanship to lead Gilas Pilipinas’s 69-point decimation of Myanmar, 136-67, in the 30th Southeast Asian Games Saturday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The two wingmen took turns in nailing one triple after another in the second quarter to help the Filipino dribblers break away, as Myanmar managed to get close thanks hugely to the scoring prowess showed by Aung Myint.
From a slim 34-30 lead, Troy Rosario scored first before Wright nailed five straight points, and Lassiter followed suit by swishing four treys in a row. It was a 23-0 run all in all that gave Gilas a 57-30 lead to begin the one-sided show.
Wright top-scored for the Nationals with a game-high 29 points together with six assists and three rebounds, while Lassiter supplied 15 markers alongside five assists as they combined for 13 of the team’s 17 triples.
The game may have been so lopsided — Gilas even led by as many as 72 points, 131-52, following an LA Tenorio bucket with 2:22 remaining in the game — but coach Tim Cone said it was not their intention to humiliate their foes.
“We were trying to find a balance between playing the game hard and respecting the game and yet not trying to run up the score. We didn’t want to run up the score and embarrass anybody,” said coach Tim Cone.
“Obviously, there’s a big gap in talent between the two teams. But, you know, the SEA Games are all about competition and friendship. You compete through friendship. You try to gain friendships. You’re not trying to create enemies.”
“That’s why we all come together and that’s something we want to try to represent tonight. We want Myanmar to keep coming back and keep wanting to play and keep wanting to improve their basketball program,” Cone added.
Vic Manuel made his presence felt for Gilas as well with 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a block. Rosario nearly had a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Kiefer Ravena provided 15 points.
Japeth Aguilar had 12 points while Greg Slaughter chimed in 10 markers and 10 boards in the victory.
June Mar Fajardo and Stanley Pringle did not see action in the bout but Cone said it was just the coaches’ decision.
“Just June Mar is really worn out. There’s no injury, no injury factor at all. We just thought that Stanley’s been aching a little bit, nothing major but he’s been complaining about his knees a little bit. So we decided to just give them rest,” he said.
Myint finished with 28 points and seven rebounds while Chin Ta chipped in 12 markers for the Burmese.
Gilas has its sights set on the semifinals on Monday, December 9, where it will face Indonesia at 8:15 p.m.
Philippines 136 –– Wright 29, Manuel 24, Rosario 16, Lassiter 15, Ravena 15, Aguilar 12, Slaughter 10, Tenorio 9, Standhardinger 6, Ross 0.
Myanmar 67 — Myint 28, Ta 14, Justin 6, Aung 5, Tun Tun 4, Sar 4, La Ja 4, Zaw 2, Zaya 0, Wine 0, Oo 0, Htut 0.
Quarterscores: 32-24, 77-36, 104-49, 136-67.
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