Gilas Pilipinas off to rocky start; Chot says struggle vs Thais ‘expected’

Gilas Pilipinas in its first assignment in Hanoi. SEA GAMES POOL

Gilas Pilipinas in its first task in Hanoi. SEA GAMES POOL

Safe to say, this gained’t be the same old Southeast Asian (SEA) Games for Gilas Pilipinas.

The Filipinos, who got here collectively a few month in the past and went to Vietnam to win the gold that counts most again dwelling, encountered robust resistance from vastly improved Thailand earlier than prevailing, 76-73, at the beginning of males’s basketball motion within the thirty first version of the biennial meet in Hanoi on Monday.

Gilas wanted each little bit of the brilliance of June Mar Fajardo to carve out the win, because the Filipinos have been pushed like they’ve by no means been earlier than by an enemy which was one among their favourite whipping boys earlier than.

“We expected to struggle due to the four foreigners in their lineup,” coach Chot Reyes informed the Inquirer in a textual content message. “Plus, that is the very first time we performed collectively. We didn’t even have the possibility to scrimmage.

“[So] we just relied on our experience to grind out the win,” Reyes added because the Philippines chases its nineteenth cage gold within the meet.

Fajardo, the six-time PBA Most Valuable Player, dropped 28 factors that went with 12 rebounds and two blocks within the hard-earned win that made the Filipinos conscious that this—not like prior to now—gained’t be a cakewalk to yet one more gold medal.

Thirdy Ravena, hardened by worldwide play, chipped in 17 factors, six rebounds, and three assists in his first-ever SEA Games outing.

The Thais truly had an opportunity to ship the sport into an additional interval, just for Naikorn Jaisanuk to overlook a triple from the nook on the buzzer.

Seeking second title

Up subsequent for the Nationals is Cambodia, a nation that completed seventh in Manila and never anticipated to put up a lot of a risk. They tangle on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

While the lads bought greater than they bargained for, the Gilas girls bought their title protection off on a smashing observe after demolishing Indonesia, 93-77, earlier.

The Filipinos, who gained their first girls’s cage gold in 2019 again dwelling, turned up the warmth within the third quarter, outscoring Perbasi, 32-19, earlier than having fun with leads of as many as 17 factors on the way in which to the spectacular win.

Afril Bernardino, simply essentially the most seasoned within the bunch, starred for the Philippines with 16 factors and 9 rebounds. She additionally turned in a hard-nosed defensive effort that resulted in 4 steals and three blocks.

Janine Pontejos, one other grizzled ace, chipped in 15, with Camille Clarin and newcomer Elisha Bade’s dropping 11 every to focus on the Philippines’ commendable effort on the offensive finish. Every single one among coach Pat Aquino’s costs contributed.

Gilas takes a break on Tuesday after which plunges again into motion towards Thailand on Wednesday, once more at 10 a.m.

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