MANILA, Philippines, May 19 ------ Gilas Pilipinas roared to a routine 88-37 romp of unheralded Singapore yesterday to go 3-0 ahead of its big showdown with host Vietnam in the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
After a rather slow opening 10 minutes that saw them take a 17-7 lead, the powerhouse Filipinos shifted to high gear in the second period to take the fight out of the lowly Singaporeans, who couldn’t keep in step anymore. RR Pogoy and Matthew Wright presided over a searing 11-2 salvo to seize a 35-13 tear that provided the springboard for the 51-point triumph – a nice follow-up to their 76-73 escape act over Thailand and 100-32 massacre of Cambodia.
The Filipinos gun for their fourth straight win in the seven-team competition tonight at the Tranh Tri Gymnasium against the Vietnamese, definitely a tougher customer compared to Singapore and Cambodia.
Unbeaten in two starts and enjoying support from the home crowd, the hosts are bannered by Vietnamese-American Chris Dierker, who previously led Vietnam to an upset of the Philippines in the elimination round of the men’s 3x3. Pogoy, in his best performance of the tourney, rifled in 19 for coach Chot Reyes’ troops as high-leaping young star Lebron Lopez had another fine showing of 18 points, including 11 in the final canto.
In the distaff side, the defending champion Gilas cagebelles reasserted their mastery of 2019 silver medalist Thailand with a wire-to-wire 97-81 romp. Afril Bernardino fired 20 to go with 16 rebounds to lead the parade of heroines as Gilas hurdled the challenge of the Thais for a leading 2-0 win-loss card. Fil-Am Stefanie Berberabe, a product of Westmont College who is playing in her first SEAG, and Katrina Guytingco shot 10 apiece even as Chack Cabinbin, US-based player Gabi Bade and Clare Castro chipped in nine each in the crucial win.
“They really worked hard and competed at the start. Sana dirediretso na,” said Philippine coach Pat Aquino, whose charges brace for a duel with host Vietnam today. “We’ll prepare harder (for the Vietnam game). I know it’s going to be difficult against the host country but we’ll be doing our best.” The Filipinas turned to the three-point sniping of Berberabe, Cabinbin, Janine Pontejos and Bade to turn a 27-25 contest with the Thais into a 39-27 bubble in the second period.
Philippines 88 – Pogoy 19, Lopez 18, Tungcab 11, Wright 11, Fajardo 8, T. Ravena 5, K. Ravena 5, Tautuaa 5, Rosario 2, Go 2, Navarro 2, Montalbo 0.
Singapore 37 – Lavin 8, Toh 7, Kwek 6, Low 5, Mah 3, Fokoff 2, Lim 2, Crump 2, Sim 2, Y. Lim 0, Liew 0, Goh 0.
Quarters: 17-7; 43-17; 61-27; 88-37.