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After close 1st quarter, Gilas pulls away from Thailand for win No. 4; Japeth dominates

Japeth Aguilar of Gilas Pilipinas soars for a basket against Thailand in the 3rd match of the 2017 SEABA Championships' Day 5 hostilities. | PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines — For a while, Thailand looked they could give the Philippines a run for their money.

Only that impression lasted for the first 10 minutes of the game.

Gilas Pilipinas mounted a second-quarter frenzy behind Japeth Aguilar’s high-flying and high-scoring performance en route to a 108-53 victory, Tuesday night in Day Five of the 2017 SEABA Championships.

Thailand mounted a pesky start to keep the hosts within striking range, even mounting a six-point spurt to make it 8-7. But as soon as Aguilar checked in to the game, Gilas hit a groove.

Coming off the bench, the 29-year-old forward slowly made his presence felt in the first canto. He kept at it in the second, emptying 15 of his total 23 points and going 10-for-10 from the field. He added five boards and two blocked shots.

And as if the Ginebra cager’s performance wasn’t enough, Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo kept adding to the lead. The nationals led by as many as 59 in the game that dealt the Thais their first loss.

“We came to this ball game with the defensive focus of stopping (Chitchai Ananti). We felt he was Thailand’s top scorer. He scores a lot so we challenged our defenders to lock him down,” head coach Chot Reyes shared.

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“I thought RR Pogoy did well at the start of the game. We just wore him down throughout the game,” he added.

Ananti was scoreless in the game.

Reyes, who now has steered Gilas to their fourth straight victory in the tournament, said he was expecting of the sluggish start by the wards.

“We knew that we would struggle. And true enough we had 18 points in the first quarter. But when we got used to their length, we were able to make some adjustments,” he noted.

“Japeth played a hell of a ball game. That second unit of Terrence, Calvin and Japeth really gave us separation.”

Philippines went for a 13-0 tear in the final period to put the nail on the coffin. They face Vietnam on Wednesday.

Thailand, on the other hand, will try to bounce back against Singapore also on Wednesday.

Gilas and Indonesia remain as the only unbeaten teams in the skirmish that dangles a lone ticket to the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon this August. They play each other on Friday.

The Scores

PHILIPPINES 108 – Aguilar 23, Abueva 15, Blatche 11, Romeo 11, Fajardo 9, Malicsi 8, Wright 7, Rosario 6, Castro William 6, Jalalon 6, Almazan 4, Pogoy 2

THAILAND 53 – Chanthachon 16, Muangboon 7, Klahan P 7, Samerjai 7, Ghogar 6, Sunthonsiri 4, Klahan C 2, Dasom 2, Boonserm 2, Ananti 0, Jaisanuk 0, Lodliang 0

QUARTER SCORES: 18-14, 51-26, 80-43, 108-53

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