Gilas Pilipinas manhandles Malaysia to stay unbeaten in SEABA 2017

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Malaysia scored the first two points of the ballgame, and that became the only time the Philippines trailed in 3 games so far in the 2017 SEABA Championship.

June Mar Fajardo erased that deficit in 17 seconds with a 3-point play and another demolition job commenced as Gilas Pilipinas manhandled Malaysia, 106-51, on Mother's Day Sunday, May 14 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum here.

"Well today was all about our mothers," said head coach Chot Reyes. "I told the team before the game to play the way that would make their mothers proud. It's apt that we're playing this game on Mother's Day."

At halftime, Gilas players handed out roses to loved ones and fans in the bleachers to commemorate Mother's Day.

Andray Blatche and Troy Rosario led the scoring this time around with 13 points apiece with the naturalized center adding 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

Terrence Romeo, who entered the game to much applause and buzz for the third straight game, wound up with 12 markers and 7 assists. Matthew Wright also had 10 points as every single Filipino made it on the scoreboard.

Young guard Jio Jalalon had the lowest scoring output with just two points but he tracked down 8 rebounds and dished out 5 assists on top of two steals. The Star Hotshots rookie is currently leading the tournament in assists with 6 a game.

The hosts seemed more fluid against a Malaysian side whose defense they were wary about. But they also faced a level of physicality and aggressiveness that was significantly higher than their last two opponents.

The Malaysians adopted that kind of assertive play from Filipinos themselves.

"This is the team that played in the D-League, and that's where they learned how to get tough, to be physical," Reyes said.

All but one of Malaysia's 12 players have at some point played for the PBA D-League's Blustar Detergent Dragons squad, which lost all 9 of their games in the most recent Aspirants Cup conference and are a combined 2-19 for two conferences so far.

"That's why we were prepared for that. We told them these guys will get up in your grill and pressure you. We were looking for a lot of layups and backdoor cuts to counter their pressure."

Yee Tong Heng and Chun Hong Ting finished in double figures for Malaysia with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Gilas rolled to a 3-0 record, tied with Indonesia for first place. Malaysia dropped its third consecutive contest.

The team with the best record will win this tournament and qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup in August and the Asian Qualifiers in November.

Gilas takes a break on Monday before taking on Thailand on Tuesday, May 16 at 7 pm. 

Meanwhile, Indonesia and Vietnam picked up victories earlier in the day against Thailand and Myanmar.

Indonesia squeaked past Thailand with a narrow 60-59 victory while Vietnam overpowered an overmatched but enthusiastic Myanmar, 77-44.

Myanmar showed more spunk after a severely lopsided loss to the Philippines two days ago, putting on a show that rallied Filipino fans behind them.

Scores:

Philippines (106): Rosario 13, Blatche 13, Wright 12, Romeo 12, Pogoy 10, William 10, Abueva 9, Malicsi 7, Aguilar 7, Almazan 6, Fajardo 5, Jalalon 2.

Malaysia (51): Heng 12, Ting 10, Liaw 8, Chin 6, Ang 5, Teo 5, Mak 2, Chan 1, Choong 1, Choo 1, Ong 0, Liew 0.

Quarter scores: 36-17, 61-26, 88-35, 106-51.

– Rappler.com