Gilas Pilipinas registered another lopsided victory but the host nation had to deal with the pesky Singapore side before coasting to a 113-66 win on Saturday in the 2017 Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The defending champions used another fast start and banked on their superior skills and size in dismantling Singapore to create a three-way tie for the top spot along with Thailand and Indonesia, which earlier beat their respective opponents also in dominating fashions.
The winning margin was a far cry from its 107-point win against Myanmar but nevertheless, Gilas never let its guards down and took Singapore seriously even though they are 55 spots apart in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) ranking.
“We wanted to beat our hustle numbers from last game. In the first half, we did that. But in the second half, I doubt. We had a poor second half, hustle-wise,” said Gilas head coach Chot Reyes.
“But we’re trying a lot of combinations. Sometimes we don’t have a point guard (on the floor) but even if we have different combinations, we still have to play at a high level,” he added.
Calvin Abueva led five Gilas players in double figures with 16 points while naturalized player Andray Blatche and Allein Maliksi each had 14 markers.
Singapore also had five players in double figures in scoring but it simply did not have the depth to keep pace with the Southeast Asian powerhouse.
The wards of Australian mentor Franco Arsego trailed early 9-31 after the first 10 minutes of the game but remained aggressive on both ends of the court against the tournament’s heavy favorites but just couldn’t pull off the impossible hence absorbing their second straight loss in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Thailand and Indonesia also went 2-0 in the second day of the competition after trashing their respective foes.
The Thais notched their second straight win after dismantling Vietnam, 76-51, while the Indonesians needed a strong second half to pull away from a tight game and scored a 63-42 decision over Malaysia.
Thailand, coached by Great Britain’s Timothy Lewis, took control of the game from the get go to stay unbeaten in the seven-nation tournament. Samerjai Kannut led the Thais with 14 points while Dasom Wutipong and Lodiang Anuruk chipped in 11 and 10 markers, respectively for Thailand, which came from a hard-earned 74-67 win over Malaysia at the start of the tournament on Friday.
Tran Vu Linh and Nguyen Van Hung netted 10 points for Vietnam, which dropped to 0-1.
Indonesia banked on the 26-point explosion from Abraham Grahita to pocket its second straight win and hand the Malaysians their second loss in a row. The Indonesians earlier beat Singapore, 71-50, in their first game.