E-Gilas Pilipinas barely broke a sweat against Vietnam and Maldives to advance to the playoffs of the Southeast Asia conference of the FIBA Esports Open III on Friday, April 16.
Led by Aljon "Shintarou" Cruzin, the Philippines topped its group with a combined winning margin of a whopping 132 points, crushing Vietnam, 78-40, and annihilating Maldives, 124-30.
Maldives stood no chance against the Philippines as Shintarou singlehandedly outscored their foes with 54 points on a scintillating 13-of-15 clip from three-point land to go with 14 assists and 5 steals.
Shintarou waxed hot for 26 points in the first half, anchoring the 51-9 run the Philippines used to open the floodgates early.
E-Gilas kept its foot on the pedal in the second half, 60-14, en route to the 94-point blowout win over Maldives.
Custer "Custer" Galas torched Maldives with 24 points, 8 assists, and 3 steals, while Philippe "IzzoIV" Herrero IV flirted with a triple-double with 13 points, 17 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals.
In its opening game against Vietnam, the Philippines also drew a prolific performance from Shintarou, who delivered 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting from deep on top of 12 assists and 4 rebounds.
Rial "Rial" Polog backstopped Shintarou against Vietnam with 24 points and 2 steals, IzzoIV had 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Custer put up 11 points, 6 steals, and 3 assists.
Ending the group stage unbeaten, the Philippines qualified for the playoffs, where it will face the second-ranked team from the other group in a best-of-three series on Saturday, April 17. – Rappler.com
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.