Gilas Pilipinas trumps India to kick off Asian Games campaign

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas leaned on a hot start and never relented as they hammered India, 85-76, to notch their first win in Group E action of the 2014 Asian Games on Tuesday, September 23 in Incheon, South Korea.

The Philippines avoided a repeat of their last meeting with India during the FIBA Asia Cup in July where they squandered 16-point lead in the last 5 minutes to Philippines escape the Indians’ 14-0 run to end the contest. 

Marcus Douthit and Jeff Chan both scored 14 to lead 6 Gilas players in double figures. Gary David followed with 13, while June Mar Fajardo scored 12. Ginebra teammates LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar each scored 10.

Gilas was on fire to start the Asiad with guard LA Tenorio sinking back-to-back shots from downtown and eventually racing to a 16-0 advantage to start. But the Indians, riding solid momentum after upsetting favored Kazakhstan in the preliminary round just a day earlier, managed to settle down and end the first behind only 24-16. 

But 24-year old June Mar Fajardo provided quality minutes for the rest of the first half as he led Gilas with 12 markers at that point. Jeff Chan added 11 points in the first half as well as Gilas shot 6-of-13 from beyond the arc.

The Gilas full-court press continued to give India problems throughout the game as the Philippines, who also had their own momentum going for them coming off an inspiring FIBA World Cup run, answered every Indian rally with hot shooting and beautifully executed offense sparked by good ball movement. 

The nationals pressed their foot on the gas pedal in the third, with Japeth Aguilar also coming alive, as Gilas led by 19-point bulges in that frame. 

Like their previous match-up, India showed character and fought back until the very end. They patiently executed their offense and came to within 84-76 with 44 ticks left after a pair of triples.

Gilas shot 32-61 from the field for 52% while India shot 28-63 for 44%. Gilas hit 9-20 from three point range while India hit 12-27.

The Philippines will face Iran in a much-anticipated match-up on Thursday, September 25 in a rematch of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships Finals while India faces Iran on Wednesday. The top two teams of Group E will advance to the quarterfinals. 

Scores: 

PHI (85) - Chan 14, Douthit 14, David 13, Fajardo 12, Aguilar 10, Tenorio 10, De Ocampo 4, Norwood 3, Lee 2, Dillinger 2, Apalag 1, Pingris 0

IND (76) - Amritpal 16, Amjyot 16, Joginder 13, Bhriguvanshi 13, Pratham 11, Brar 6, Pethani 2, Grewal 0, Pari 0, Mishra 0, Sivakumar 0, Yadwinder 0 

Quarter scores: 24-16, 50-37, 70-56, 85-76

Rappler.com