Philippine national men’s basketball team Gilas Pilipinas clinched the top seed at the second round of FIBA Asia after routing India 99-65.
Gilas shook off a cold start and finally outpaced India’s offense during the third quarter to finish their fifth consecutive win and enter the quarterfinals with a 5-1 record.
Terrence Romeo led the team with a well-rounded performance, 20 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Five other players contributed to Gilas’ scoring arsenal: Andray Blatche (15 points, 3 rebounds), Ranidel De Ocampo (13 points, 3 rebounds), Jayson Castro (12 points, 6 rebounds), Marc Pingris (12 points, 4 rebounds), and Calvin Abueva (12 points, 7 rebounds).
Vishesh Bhriguvanshi meanwhile led the Indian team with 21 points while Am Singh pitched in 18 points.
Gilas coach Tad Baldwin said it was a tough game, but they managed to find their groove after the half. “We were kind of flat in the first half and again, their zone (defense) contributed to that. But again our energy guys kind of got us through that first half, and as a team, we found a lot of energy in the second half,” he said in a report.
Prior to their win over India, the Philippine squad defeated the defending champion Iran, 87-73, on top of Blatche’s strong showing on the floor despite an injury.
Gilas’ winning streak at FIBA has sent ripples across the globe, with Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt even praising the Philippine national team.
The quarterfinal will commence on Thursday with Gilas facing Lebanon.