On Gilas' FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers win vs Indonesia
Gilas Pilipinas, led by Balti Baltazar's 11 points, blew out Indonesia, 76-51, on Friday

On Gilas' FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers win vs Indonesia

Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - June 19, 2021 - 2:09pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines scored its second win in as many games in the Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers with a 76-51 thrashing of Indonesia on Friday.

While the young Philippine team struggled in the early goings as the Rajko Toroman-led Indonesian team gave them a good fight, it was inevitable that the home side would pull away and win.

For one, I am not terribly impressed with Indonesia. I could see vestiges of what Toroman brought to the Gilas team he coached from 2009 to 2012 — a quick run and gun squad trying to upend taller and more talented foes.

Ultimately, they aren’t naturally as agile and talented as the Filipinos. And to add in the vernacular: kulang sa diskarte.

Even worse, they do not have a bench. 

Their starters — Lester Prosper, Abraham Grahita, Agassi Goantara, Andakara Dhyaksa, and Juan Kokodiputra — tallied 47 points between them. 
Their only bench production was from veteran Arki Wisnu who only chipped in four points. 

The bench collectively tallied eight rebounds, three assists, and one steal. 

Let’s put this in perspective. Even if some of the Indons are older, they aren’t exposed to the level of competition the Filipinos are. 

They are improving, but this will only bear fruit in several years’ time. 

That is however, dependent on how their leagues are back in Indonesia. 

That they hung around early, is something I am not surprised. All of Toroman’s teams save for Iran and the Philippines hung around early after which they were blown out.

When it comes to broken plays you can see how the Philippines is able to cope well.

Arki Wisnu and Lester Prosper are around 33 years old. A couple of others will be 30 in a year or two. But other than them and Abraham Grahita, there isn’t much. 

Let’s instead look at Gilas. Why did they struggle early on?

I felt that the guards did not execute the offense and were looking for their own shot. 

SJ Belangel as soon as he came in threw up a shot. I don’t think the team was overconfident though. 

Let’s face it — they are a young team. They aren’t going to execute it well. At least not right away.

Baldwin tried different combinations and he had this tall line-up — with Angelo Kouame, Justine Baltazar, Kai Sotto, Dwight Ramos, and Jordan Heading — to start the third. The lead even went down to six! 

The Philippines got a reprieve when Prosper traveled after a stop by their team. Had they scored, it would have gone down to four. 

In the Philippines’ next possession, Baltazar nailed the triple while Indonesia misfired twice and that was it.

By the time four of the five players to start the third period for the Philippines were off the floor with 2:55 to play, the lead was at 46-31.

And that lead was gained with Indonesia’s starting unit. 

When Prosper and Goantara were subbed out at the same time, they were 5-5 with Gilas to the period’s end. 

The back-to-back triples by Carl Tamayo to open the fourth broke Indonesia’s backs at 59-38. 

Who was impressive for the Philippines? Easily, it was Dwight Ramos with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

He added three steals and an assist. I liked his hustle and willingness to battle outside and inside. He got the rout going with his play on both ends of the court. 

RJ Abarrientos was solid with nine points and six assists and Francis Lopez (eight points, five rebounds, one assist, and one block) and Gio Chiu (four points and three rebounds) gave good accounts of themselves. Justine Baltazar and Carl Tamayo were solid as well. 

There is still a lot of room for this team to grow. And that bears watching.

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