Gilas Pilipinas remained in the hunt for a gold medal after an easy 80-41 victory over Qatar in the men’s 5-on-5 basketball competition, Monday afternoon at the Zhejiang University Zijingang Gymnasium during the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Picking themselves up from a demoralizing 87-62 loss to Jordan just two days prior, the Nationals came out with guns blazing in the opening period to take the fight out of the Qataris and book a quarterfinal date with Asian superpower Iran.
Gilas dominated on both ends of the floor in what turned out to be the Filipinos’ best start in the tournament, opening with a 29-8 run that set the tone for the coast-to-coast victory.
The Nationals built a 33-14 lead after the first ten minutes then, as if that wasn’t enough, dropped a crippling 24-9 second quarter run to completely seal the deal right in the first half.
The Filipinos had a genuine team effort, with seven players scoring at least 8 points – a stark contrast to their game against Jordan, where Justin Brownlee was left to carry the fight with 24 points while his local backup fired blanks.
This time, though, June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez, and Calvin Oftana led the charge in the first half, and Brownlee didn’t even have to play in the final two quarters with the game well out of reach.
Fajardo and Perez each had 12 points, while Oftana had 11 points on three triples in the first period. Despite the limited minutes, Brownlee managed to contribute 9 points and 5 rebounds.
Japeth Aguilar finished with 9 markers, Kevin Alas had 8, while Ange Kouame had 8 points and 10 boards.