PHNOM PENH — Gilas Pilipinas hardly broke a sweat as it overpowered Malaysia, 94-49, to get its “redeem mission” in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) off and running yesterday.
Brandon Ganuelas Rosser topscored with 15 points while Justin Brownlee highlighted his SEAG debut with 11 markers, four rebounds, two blocks and one steal to lead the Pinoys to the routine victory against their lightweight rivals.
Arvin Tolentino (10), Marcio Lassiter (nine), Michael Philips (nine), Mason Amos (eight), CJ Perez (eight) and Jerom Lastimosa (eight) were also productive in the tournament opener played at slippery flooring of the non-air conditioned Morodok Techo Stadium.
Behind the exploits of starters Calvin Oftana, Chris Ross. Marcio Lassiter, Justin Brownlee and Christian Standhardinger, the troops of coach Chot Reyes raced to an early 28-12 tear and ended the first period up by 19, 33-12.
“We challenged the first group to get us off to a good start. That’s their primary role,” said Mr. Reyes.
Collegiate stars Messrs. Philips and Lastimosa served as the energy providers in their early onslaught.
“Our young players are the energizers of this team. They’re job is really to be the spark off the bench,” Mr. Reyes said of the duo.
With the Malaysians hardly causing trouble, Mr. Reyes took the opportunity to try out several combinations ahead of their next opposition, naturalized players-laden host Cambodia.
The win came at a cost, though, as Oftana sustained a calf strain after slipping on the taraflex floor.
“I hope it’s nothing serious,” said Mr. Reyes.
Aside from the heat, Gilas is dealing with the risky surface.
“We just have to focus on the things that we can control but it’s really dangerous,” Mr. Reyes said. “We just tell the players all the other teams are undergoing the same conditions. We just have to embrace it and accept it so we can make the best of it.” — Olmin Leyba
Philippines 94 – Ganuelas-Rosser 15, Brownlee 11, Tolentino, 10, Phillips 9, Lassiter 9, Amos 8, Perez 8, Lastimosa 8, Newsome 7, Oftana 5, Standhardinger 4, Ross 0.
Malaysia 49 – Wong 15, Ting 7, Ooi 7, Kuek 6, Chang 4, Lee 3, Heng 3, Mahadevan 2, De 2, Liew 0, Ong 0, Wee 0.
Quarterscores: 33-12, 58-22, 84-38, 94-49.