Gilas Pilipinas meant business right away and routed Bahrain, 89-61, to kick off its 19th Asian Games campaign on a rousing note Tuesday at the HOC Olympic Stadium.
Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame presided over a second quarter breakaway that paved way for the national team to sit on a 51-33 lead at the break.
Brownlee finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in his first stint in the continental meet, while Ange Kouame came through with 15 in the 28-point victory that put Gilas on top of Pool C along with Jordan, a 97-63 winner over Thailand on the same day.
Coach Tim Cone was quick to put behind the victory, stressing the need to prepare for Tyler Lamb and the rest of the Thais, who will be Gilas’ next opponent on Thursday.
“We didn’t play Thailand in the Southeast Asian Games. But we saw them in the SEA Games, but we’re not matched up against them. They were knocked out by Cambodia,” said Cone of the Thais.
Gilas led by as much as 34 points late in the game.
CJ Perez, one of five replacement players finally given the go-signal to play hours before game time, finished with 15 points, and Calvin Oftana was the other player in double figure for Gilas with 14.