MANILA, Philippines – Matthew Wright and Marcio Lassiter turned Myanmar into target practice and fueled Gilas Pilipinas to a 136-67 annihilation in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games men's basketball action on Saturday, December 7.
The two put on a shooting clinic and drained 13 of the Philippines' 17 three-pointers as the hosts made easy work of Myanmar at the Mall of Asia Arena to sweep the preliminary round by a whopping margin of 162 points.
Lassiter and Wright each knocked down 4 three-pointers in a blistering second-quarter charge that saw the Philippines turn a slim 32-24 first-quarter lead to a massive 77-36 advantage heading into the break.
Wright finished with a game-high 29 points spiked by 8 triples as Gilas Pilipinas dominated despite deciding to rest and bench June Mar Fajardo and Stanley Pringle for the entire 40 minutes of the match.
Vic Manuel churned out 24 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals, Troy Rosario had 16 points and 9 rebounds, while Lassiter wound up with 15 points – all from long range – to go with 5 assists.
With head coach Tim Cone stressing that they should try to not "run up the score" owing to the disparity of their size and skills, the Filipinos seemed to take it easy as the Burmese trailed by only 4 points, 30-34.
But it did not take long for the Philippines to catch fire with Lassiter and Marcio showing the way with 4 triples each in a 41-4 run that gave them a 41-point lead.
"I think in the beginning, they all had the impression they weren't supposed to play so hard in the beginning because they didn't want to run up the score," Cone said.
"But that was kind of not what we were looking for. They found the balance later on."
Kiefer Ravena added 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists as Japeth Aguilar chipped in 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in the near-perfect game for Gilas Pilipinas, which committed only 1 turnover.
Aung Myint delivered 28 points for Myanmar, which will return home winless in 3 games, while Chin Ta added 14 points and 7 rebounds.
The Philippines will face Indonesia in the knockout semifinals on Monday, November 9, at the Mall of Asia Arena. – 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.