GILAS Pilipinas flexed its muscles again for another statement win as it annihilated Kuwait by 46 points, 110-64, to finish its preliminary-round campaign with a bang in a highly physical game to enter the next phase of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship at the Changsa Social Work College’s Gymnasium in Changsa, China last night.
Jayson Castro was once again on target as he led the Filipinos’ balanced attack with 16 points, nine of which came in the first half, where he dictated his team’s fluid offense, while Terrence Romeo came off the bench to score a team-high 19 points for Gilas.
Nine of the 12 Gilas players scored at least eight points.
Smart Gilas is now safely through to the second round and can place either at No. 1 or No. 2 in Group B, depending on the outcome of the final game in the group between Hong Kong and surprise team Palestine.
Should Palestine win, it takes the No. 1 seed in Group B and the Philippines will be No. 2. A Palestine loss will have the two teams switch place. Regardless, Hong Kong is already locked at No. 3.
These three teams will join the top three teams in Group A, which are Iran, Japan and India, to form Group E in the next phase, carrying their records over.
A furious 33-1 blast by the in-sync Gilas Pilipinas bridging the first two periods broke the game wide open in a snap as the Filipinos never looked back and never stopped hounding the hapless Kuwaitis.
Following that blistering surge, Gilas found itself sitting on an enormous 33-point spread, 44-11, at the 6:56 mark of the second quarter.
In that stretch, Gilas Pilipinas’ unforgiving defense held Kuwait scoreless for almost 10 minutes in that deadly salvo.
Ranidel De Ocampo’s buzzer-beater in the first half stretched Gilas’ cushion to 27 points, 55-27.
At the half, Castro already had nine markers, while JC Intal and Calvin Abueva weren’t far behind with eight points apiece, in the first 24 minutes of action.
Just like its dominant performance against Hong Kong the other day, Gilas didn’t have any letdown in this one, as it kept pounding in the second half.
The cushion in the final tally was the largest lead for the Philippines in the contest.
In the waning seconds, the physical contest got even more intense as De Ocampo and Kuwait’s Abdulaziz Alhamidi almost figured in a fight, striking each other but were not seen by the referees.
Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed to prevent things from escalating.
Today is a rest day for all the teams and action resumes tomorrow with the second round kicking off.