MANILA — Gilas Pilipinas started their rally for the gold in a positive note as it defeated India, 85-76, Tuesday afternoon at Hwaseong Sports Complex in Incheon, South Korea.
The victory assured the team of a slot in the quarterfinals of the tourney. Next up will be their match-off with Asian champion Iran on Thursday.
“It was important for us to go out and get a good start [to the tournament],” said skipper Jimmy Alapag. “We just want to keep our focus every game.”
The Philippine national team opened the game with 16 straight points. Gabe Norwood connected with Japeth Aguilar for an alley-oop slam to give the team a 49-33 lead in the second canto. To which India answered with an 11-3 run.
What slowed down the nationals was the 20 turnovers that they committed that allowed India to score 18 points.
But Gilas, with the help of Marcus Douthit, answered with eight points to give them 60-44 lead.
“It was tough to get the news [about replacing Andray Blatche] at the last minute but I’m mentally prepared for it,” said Douthit.
June Mar Fajardo also proved his worth as he scored 12 points in the first half with 9 rebounds. Jeff Chan chipped in with 14 markers.