JAKARTA -- With new teammate Jordan Clarkson in attendance, the Philippines opened its 18th Asian Games campaign with a convincing 96-59 win over Kazakhstan at the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex here on Thursday.
Stanley Pringle, big expectations riding on his shoulders following high praise from coaches back home, lived up to it as picked apart the Kazakhstan defense en route to a team-high 18 points in his Asian Games debut.
Christian Standhardinger and James Yap came off the bench to chip in 15 and 12 points, respectively, as the Philippines just had too many offensive weapons for the Kazakhs to handle.
Gilas jumped out to an early 12-2 lead less than three minutes in behind Stanley Pringle and Maverick Ahanmisi. But the offense slowed down in the latter half of the first period as they missed several open shots and had to settle for a 16-9 lead by quarter's end.
Yap led the charge for the Philippines in the second period, pumping in seven points to as Gilas closed the first half with a 16-5 run to enter the locker room with a 41-20 halftime edge.
The Kazakhs picked up the pace in the third period, scoring nine quick points over the first two minutes. But timely hits from Beau Belga, Chris Tiu and James Yap kept the lead at 20, 49-29. Kazakhstan started going more to their big men, posting up and going to the baseline as they put up 23 points in the third. But the Philippines managed to keep a 61-43 lead heading into the final quarter.
Three straight triples Paul Lee, the last coming with 5:05 to go gave Gilas an 81-52 lead. The lead went up and the team cruised from the point on.
"The coaching staff did a great job with the scouting report and the team's preparation. We were able to disrupt (Kazakhstan's) offense, and we were able to challenge their shots," national team head coach Yeng Guiao told reporters after the game.
"The guys were mentally tough and mentally prepared. We had a very short time to prepare for this tournament, but everything just fell into place."
The Philippines next faces China on August 21, hoping Clarkson's presence can help against the pre-tournament favorites which boasts of two NBA players of their own in Zhou Qi and Ding Yanyuhang.
Philippines (96) - Pringle 18, Standhardinger 15, Yap 12, Lee 10, Tiu 9, Norwood 7, Almazan 6, Belga 5, Erram 5, Taulava 5, Ahanmisi 4.
Jordan Clarkson arrived late in the third period with the Philippines leading 58-40.
Former NBA star Yao Ming, who is now president of China's basketball program, arrived at the venue midway through the first quarter and watched the game from the VIP section.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and members of the PBA Board also watched the game.
Asi Taulava's basket with 4:05 left ensured that all 11 players scored.