Solid effort steers Gilas to rousing win over Hong Kong
Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran ( - September 24, 2015 - 12:39am

Game Friday

4:45 p.m. – Philippines vs Kuwait

CHANGSHA – From its disappointing loss to Palestine, Gilas Pilipinas started the road to redemption with a 101-50 conquest of Hong Kong in Day Two of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship at the Changsha Social Work College Gymnasium here Thursday.

Shocked by the Palestinians at endgame Wednesday, the Nationals came back playing a solid 40-minute game and restored their confidence with a thorough domination of the Hong Kong quintet in Group B play.

Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin said it’s all about effort that they didn’t have in the closing minutes of their game against the Palestinians.

“Lots of good things come from effort. Lots of bad things come from lack of effort. There was a good effort today, and the result speaks for themselves,” said Baldwin.

“I don’t think we did enough (on Wednesday’s game). We don’t redeem ourselves until we wipe every bit of doubt on everybody’s mind on who we are as a national team,” Baldwin added.

With a great resolve from everybody, the Nationals mangled the Hong Kong team that looked good in its 87-50 clobbering of Kuwait also in Day One of the Asian qualifier for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“We corrected our mistake from the last game. We’re aggressive on both ends right as we stepped on the court,” said Jayson Castro, who led the juggernaught against the HK side with a remarkable 5-of-6 shooting and a game-high total of 21 points.

“We only did two things different from Wednesday. We just hit shots and had some rebounds.  We hit our shots. We played with much more heart and that’s why get the easy win,” said Andray Blatche, coming through with 17 points, eight rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block against two errors in just 18 minutes of action.

Gunners Dondon Hontiveros and Terrence Romeo contributed nine triples and 25 points together while Ranidel de Ocampo chipped in 10 markers and eight rebounds as the Nationals scored the huge win that automatically sealed their passage into the next round of the preliminaries.

Another win versus Kuwait at 4:45 p.m. today will boost their bid to make the knockout stage starting Oct. 1.

“We just didn’t have the heart the last time. But as we’re wounded, we showed that big heart of ours today,” said Marc Pingris of their complete domination of the HK Chinese.

Each player helped provide a push as Gilas battered Hong Kong in each quarter, fashioning out its biggest win from its warm-up games in the Jones Cup and in the MVP Cup.

The Nationals blew Hong Kong apart with a 41-percent (14-of-34) three-point shooting and 62-38 domination off the boards.

“We knew Hong Kong is on us. They started man-to-man and didn’t last long. I think teams will have trouble manning us. But today we proved that we can be dangerous against the zone us well,” said Baldwin.

“We still need to be a little more crisp in our attack against the zone. But ball movement will get better and we’ll get better against the zone so I suspect as we move forward, teams will think twice before they zone us,” Baldwin also said.

On Wednesday, the Nationals crumbled as the Palestinians shifted from man to zone.

The HK Chinese tried the same ploy but the Filipino gunners found their touch early and kept on hitting the marks all game long.

The scores:

Philippines 101 – Castro 21, Blatche 17, Hontiveros 14, Romeo 11, De Ocampo 10, Abueva 8, Ganuelas 7, Intal 5, Thoss 4, Taulava 2, Pingris 2, Norwood 0.

Hong Kong 50 – Chan 13, Reid 11, Wong 7, Xu 6, Au-Yeung 5, Lin 5, Cheng 2, Leung 1, So 0, Lau 0, Szeto 0, Lee 0.

Quarterscores: 28-15, 51-22, 83-38, 101-50

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