The Philippines blasted Saudi Arabia, 78-66, Thursday night to assure itself of advancing into the second elimination round in the 27th FIBA-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
But Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes was not happy with the win, as his players allowed the Saudis to tie the game twice and forged four lead changes in the first half that saw the host team led only by seven points, 35-28.
“We have to play better tomorrow and we don’t need to manage much our game because we want to stay fresh,” said Reyes.
It was only in the fourth quarter that the Filipinos led by as much as 14 points, 64-50, on Marc Pingres’ basket. Gary David made it 66-50 the locals’ biggest lead with still 6:06 remaining.
“It was an ugly win but a win is a win. We have to move on,” said forward Ranidel de Ocampo, referring to their game against Jordan today at 8:30 p.m.
LA Tenorio and Larry Fonacier were top scorers for Gilas Pilipinas with 12-point apiece, while Marcus Douthit added 10.