Gilas Pilipinas Men will head home from the Manama bubble unscathed after blasting Thailand, 93-69, in their second matchup of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers on Monday evening.
Brothers Javi and Juan Gomez de Liaño carried a large bulk of the Filipino offensive attack, scoring a combined 33 points. Chanatip Jakrawan, MVP of the Thailand Basketball Open, outscored the brothers by himself, as he had 34 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
The Philippines, now atop Group A, clinched their third win thanks to a much better start than their first face-off on Friday. Gilas immediately zoomed to an 11-0 spurt, rendering the Thais, who dropped to 0-4, scoreless for the first four minutes of the game.
Slowly, Thailand chipped off the Filipinos' lead by hitting seven shots from the charity stripe, 15-7. They then trimmed the gap to four, after an uncontested two-handed dunk by Chanatip Jakrawan, 15-11. After this, the Philippines responded with four straight three-pointers to close the first, capped off by a buzzer-beating triple by Juan Gomez de Liaño. The Philippines went out on top after the opening chapter, 27-19.
In the second quarter, Calvin Oftana, the reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player, found his form and launched three from rainbow country, including one from about 30 feet. The Red Lion, who was not fielded in last Friday's game, scored all of his 9 points in the period. Matt Nieto closed the first half with a floater just before the halftime buzzer sounded, with the Philippines comfortably ahead by 19, 53-34.
Things got a little bit more interesting after halftime when Jakrawan dropped 16 markers in the third alone, including 11 straight. His personal run sliced the lead to its smallest of the half at 14, 64-50. However, Gilas Men regained their bearings when they clapped back with an 11-2 spurt to end the quarter, and led by 23, 75-52.
Javi Gomez de Liaño continued his onslaught in the last quarter, scoring 10 points which included a four-point play that increased the Philippine lead to 28, 82-54, which was their largest of the game.
"It's our defense and the way we executed our offense that won us the game, " said center Justine Baltazar.
Head coach Jong Uichico agreed with his player's sentiments, and praised his competition.
"Justin was right. We asked them to play... The lead we had in the first game was big. We were concerned that we might take this game for granted. We really harped on executing the offense and defense. Thailand played a better all around game," said Uichico.
Nieto was carried off the court at the 7:06 mark of the third quarter after turning his ankle. Uichico said that the team does not know how severe the sprain is. The injury will be assessed tomorrow.
Philippines (93) -- Ja. Gomez de Liaño 19, Ju. Gomez de Liaño 14, Ramos 13, Ma. Nieto 12, Oftana 9, Go 9, Ildefonso 5, Suerte 4, Paras 4, Baltazar 2, Carino 2, Tungcab 0.
Thailand (69) -- Jakrawan 34, Suttisin 13, Muangboon 9, Jaisanuk 8, Chungyampin 5, Ghogar 0, Klaewnarong 0, Lakhan 0, Wongsawangtham 0, Langsui 0.
Quarter Scores: 27-19, 53-34, 75-52, 93-69.