Gilas Pilipinas blasts PBA All-Stars in successful first outing
MANILA, Philippines - In their first game back since the FIBA Asia Championship, Gilas Pilipinas showed they could still work together as a team.
Gilas blasted the 2014 PBA All-Star selection, 101-93, in the 2014 PBA All-Star Weekend on on Sunday, April 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The national men's basketball squad was all business and in full control of the game right from the get go all the way until the end as they asserted their might in the paint with naturalized big man Marcus Douthit, and let it rain from beyond the arc with 9 three-pointers.
"We expected that. We had Marcus and that's kind of an unfair advantage on our part so we expected that," Gilas head coach Chot Reyes explained. "But more than the final score, more than the points, for me what I was looking at was how the players were reacting, how our players were executing, how they were able to follow the game plan."
The nationals, indeed, executed their game plan as they got off to a good start with Jeff Chan burying a trey right off the gates. They later piled up on points to make it a 49-42 halftime advantage.
They never looked back after that, outscoring the All-Stars 33-22 in the third to push their opponents into a hole they could never claw out of.
"I'd like to extend my appreciation to coach Tim (Cone) and PBA All-Stars for preparing hard," remarked Reyes. "You could see that they were very well prepared. They defended us well, they kept showing us different combinations, different looks.
"You could see with their offense they were able to run some stuff that we're going to see in international competitions. I think this game will definitely help us."
On the part of All-Stars coach Tim Cone, the variations on offense, defense and line-up were all part of their goal for tonight.
"The idea coming in here was to challenge the Gilas team and I thought we did that," he said. "We did everything, we played big line-ups, we played small line-up, we tried to run sets, we tried to run triangle. We threw the whole kitchen sink at them.
"But they responded well as expected. They are a team that's intact and they know each other."
"Ironically we had enough defense but didn't have enough offense. The idea was play defense then bahala na offense." pic.twitter.com/HVs7Chmmi7— Jane Bracher (@janebracher) April 6, 2014
The FIBA Asia silver medalists built their biggest lead during that searing third frame run on a Jayson Castro breakaway lay-up, 67-49, with 6:25 on the clock.
But the All-Stars fought back with a 9-2 run later in the period to inch to within 11, 73-62. But Paul Lee buried a trey right after to squash the momentum, 76-62.
The All-Stars put up some resistance once again towards the end of the payoff period, cutting the deficit to 10, 100-90, on an Arwind Santos basket with 2:25 to play. But missed attempts ensued for the All-Stars after that, effectively securing the win for Gilas.
Even with the loss, the All-Stars, led by James Yap, Mark Barroca and Greg Slaughter, weren't too shabby.
Despite what the final tally might say, the All-Stars gave Gilas a tough time executing their offensive sets. The defense locked in on Gilas whether on the perimeter or closer to the basket.
"Ironically we had enough defense, we just didn't have enough offense," noted Cone. "We went through some of the defensive schemes we wanted to do and I thought we executed it pretty well. At least we executed it with effort. The idea was play defense and bahala na (whatever) offense."
The All-Stars made 8 treys with Marcio Lassiter leading the scoring with 12 points. Slaughter added 11, while PJ Simon had 9 markers.
Gilas, on the other hand, tallied 28 assists, which Reyes says is a testament to the kind of team they are.
Chan tallied 17 points on 4-of-6 triples while Gary David had 15 markers.
David was named All-Star Most Valuable Player and won the P30,000 prize for it.
Larry Fonacier and Jayson Castro added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
This is only the beginning for the World Cup-bound national team. They obviously still look rusty on the court despite the win and there is still plenty more they need to accomplish before they are ready to go on a showdown against the world's best. But Reyes knows this one game alone is already a step in the right direction.
"It might be just one game but it means a lot to us and most especially to the fans to be able to see again."
All-Stars win again
Even before the actual game, both squads already bathed in the spotlight with the traditional All-Star dance-off.
But just like last year, it's still the PBA All-Stars who reigned supreme when the hip-shaking and confetti settled.
Wearing the well-known Jabbawockeez mask, Gilas, led by David, showed their quirky and relaxed personalities with shameless dance moves to a very entertained crowd. The highlight of their performance was June Mar Fajardo breaking out in dance and silent song to the film Frozen's highly popular song "Let It Go." Fajardo initiated that final dance as his teammates popped some confetti and joined the dancing themselves.
Their counterparts in the PBA All-Star selection, came out hiding cardboards underneath their shirts. They later revealed it to be letters that formed "GILAS PILIPINAS" with Maning Vilbar, the colorful character on the San Mig Super Coffee bench, carrying the final word, "PUSO."
Devance and Santos led the dancing for the All-Stars, showing off some impressive dancing chops. Barroca was also a highlight of their performance with his brown curly wig as he sang to "I Love Rock 'N Roll."
Gilas was unable able to redeem themselves from last year's dance-off loss, however, as the All-Stars took home the cash prize of P50,000.
Gilas, meanwhile, received P100,000 for winning the game.
The dance-off loss, Reyes said, was the only bad thing he could see from the game.
"If there's one setback in this it's the dance. I thought we won it last year and I thought we won it this year."
Gilas Pilipinas 101: Chan 17, David 15, Fajardo 13, Castro 12, Douthit 10, De Ocampo 7, Norwood 7, Aguilar 7, Lee 5, Dillinger 4, Fonacier 3, Pingris 1, Alapag 0, Tenorio 0, Belga 0.
PBA All-Stars 93: Lassiter 12, Slaughter 11, Santos 9, Simon 9, Yap 8, Barroca 8, Thoss 8, Ellis 7, Baracael 6, Devance 6, Abueva 6, Canaleta 3.
Quarter scores: 28-23, 49-42, 82-64, 101-93.
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