Gilas Pilipinas ended up with a split in two games in the opening window of the 2023 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers after going down to a 88-63 defeat at the hands of New Zealand Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Throwing bricks from the arc and even from the foul line, the Nationals suffered a disappointment, failing in their bid for a follow-up to their 88-64 rout of India Friday.
Early fouls by naturalized center Ange Kouame also weighed heavily as the Nationals allowed the Tall Blacks to pull away in the third quarter and go on to make it two-zero following a 101-46 demolition of India Thursday.
New Zealand is expected to repeat against India and make it 3-0 at the close of the Big Dome FIBA hostilities Monday.
The Tall Blacks, the Filipinos and the Indians, however, are now all assured of spots in the second round with the disqualification of South Korea in Group A play. The South Koreans missed the games in the February window due to COVID-19 cases in their team.
Gilas will play again India and New Zealand in rematches in June before moving to the next round of group plays.
Woeful was Gilas’ shooting, and the Tall Blacks pounded the situation with their physicality and relentless effort on both ends of the floor.