FIBA World Cup

Trifecta of firsts completed as Dwight Ramos shows way for Gilas Pilipinas

Delfin Dioquino
Trifecta of firsts completed as Dwight Ramos shows way for Gilas Pilipinas

TOP GUNNER. Dwight Ramos leads all scorers in Gilas Pilipinas' romp of India.

FIBA

Relishing his playing debut before a home crowd at the Araneta Coliseum, Dwight Ramos delivers as expected as Gilas Pilipinas tramples India in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers

MANILA, Philippines – Dwight Ramos achieved a trifecta of firsts as Gilas Pilipinas pummeled India: first game at the Araneta Coliseum, first match before a home crowd, and first win in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Ramos delivered as expected as he netted a team-high 17 points on top of 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal as the Philippines opened its Asian Qualifiers bid with an 88-64 whipping of India on Friday, February 25.

“It’s crazy. I’ve been here a while and this is really my first game with a crowd here at the Araneta Coliseum,” said Ramos, who returned from the Japan B. League to reinforce the national team.

The Araneta Coliseum is arguably the most prominent site for Filipino hoops in the country, but Ramos somehow had never played in the historic arena in his two years with the national team.

Ramos had also never experienced playing before Filipino fans while wearing a Gilas jersey as the last FIBA event the country hosted, the Asia Cup Qualifiers last year, was held inside a bubble.

“I was really happy that we were able to win. That’s all that was in my head coming into the game. I was like, ‘This is my first time playing here, it has to be my first win.'”

Ramos set the tone for the national team, chalking up 7 points in the opening quarter on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting from the field.

Those timely buckets helped a cold-shooting Gilas squad stay afloat in the first half against an Indian side seeking an upset before the Filipinos broke away in the last two quarters.

But the Filipino-American stalwart said it was never his intention to carry the scoring cudgels as he said Gilas puts a premium on ball movement.

“They were just open shots,” said Ramos, who finished with an efficient 66% shooting clip.

“I wasn’t trying to serve myself or anything. My teammates, we’re all trying to work together to get the best shot and I think that’s how I got those open shots.”

While it was evident that Gilas has yet to achieve the team cohesion that it targets, Ramos said their win over India is a major step as they now turn their attention to Group A favorite New Zealand.

The Filipinos and the Kiwis lock horns on Sunday, February 27, at the same venue.

“We’re just going to keep building as a team,” said Ramos. “It was a good practice for us, our first game together. Just got to get back to it and obviously prepare for New Zealand.” – Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.