Gilas Pilipinas came out swinging, defeating Bahrain 89-61 to begin its 19th Asian Games campaign on a high note Tuesday at the HOC Olympic Stadium.
Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame oversaw a second-quarter breakout that gave the national team a 51-33 lead at the half.
Brownlee finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in his debut appearance in the continental meet, while Ange Kouame contributed 15 points in the 28-point victory that put Gilas atop Pool C alongside Jordan, who defeated Thailand 97-63 on the same day.
Coach Tim Cone was quick to celebrate the win, emphasizing the importance of preparing for Tyler Lamb and the rest of the Thais, who will be Gilas’ next opponent on Thursday
“We did not compete against Thailand in the Southeast Asian Games.” But we saw them at the SEA Games, but we weren’t up against them. Cambodia knocked them out,” Cone said of the Thais.
Gilas had a 34-point lead late in the game
CJ Perez finished with 15 points as one of five replacement players ultimately granted the go-ahead to play hours before game time, and Calvin Oftana was the other Gilas player in double figures with 14.
Along with Perez, Cone chose to play four additional last-minute additions, Kevin Alas, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Arvin Tolentino, when the game was already won to give them a feel for the Gilas system after only joining the team a week before the Asiad.
“Having that extra time was critical for us.” The five lads are still getting their bearings. “And, once again, those are the guys on whom we’ll rely as they decide how far we go,” Gilas coach stated.
Former PBA import Wayne Chism was restricted to just five points, while Bahrain’s Jameel Almoathin led the way with 14 points. (RG)
Brownlee (20), Kouame (15), Perez (15), Oftana (10), Fajardo (8), Lassiter (8), Thompson (5), Newsome (3), Alas (2), Aguilar (2), Ross (1), Tolentino (0).
Bahrain (61): Almoathin (14), Rashed MHA (13), Rashed AHA (12), Buallay (8), Melad (6), Chism (5), Hamoda (3), Al Haddad (0), Hasan (0), Al Hassan (0).
The quarterscores were 22-18, 51-33, 72-47, and 89-61.