Gilas Pilipinas 93 – Chinese-Taipei 71
Gilas Pilipinas marched into Taiwan looking for their fourth win. They silenced the loud home crowd with a masterful performance over Chinese-Taipei, winning by 22 points.
It was a slow start for Gilas as they couldn’t find their offensive groove. On the other end of the floor, Chinese-Taipei was burying the long bombs they were launching. The home team took an early eight-point lead, 12-4.
Gilas slowly inched their way back into the game. It started with Jayson Castro’s flurry of points. The Blur scored on a floater and a pull-up three-pointer before being subbed out due to foul trouble. Andray Blatche and RR Pogoy scored a basket each inside to cut the lead down to just three points heading into the second period.
Unfortunately, Chinese-Taipei answered with a run of their own. They opened the second quarter on an 11-5 spurt built on their outside bombs to take a nine-point lead. The home team was looking to break the game wide open so Terrence Romeo and June Mar Fajardo went to work.
Romeo issued a nice pass to Fajardo off a great drive as the Kraken scored on an and-one play. Romeo then added a three-pointer from the left wing to cut the lead down to just six points. Blatche had great stops on back-to-back plays netting him a block and steal. He also led the break that got Troy Rosario an open look for two. Gilas snatched momentum away from Chinese-Taipei as they closed the quarter on an 11-1 run. Blatche Bulldozed his way inside while Matthew Wright capped the run with a trey to give Gilas a seven-point halftime lead.
That second quarter run not only gave Gilas the lead, it gave them momentum heading into the second half. They came out of halftime with more energy on the defensive end as they forced Chinese-Taipei to misses and turnovers. On the offensive end, they steadily fed Fajardo who gladly obliged with several buckets inside.
Fajardo dominating the paint opened up opportunities for the rest of the team. They found open spaces on the floor and took advantage to get their shots up. Castro and Pogoy got several open lanes to the hoop as Gilas slowly built a double-digit lead.
Chinese-Taipei momentarily found their offense near the end of the third period to cut the deficit down to six points. But that was the closest they would get. Romeo and Wright opened the fourth period with back-to-back treys to re-establish the double-digit lead. When the home team tried to threaten again, Gilas immediately shut the door on them.
Romeo, Castro and Fajardo scored buckets to build a 15-point lead. Gilas resumed to score on Chinese-Taipei as Fajardo got a wide-open dunk to serve as the exclamation point for the big win.
This win by Gilas, as well as the loss of Australia to Japan, means that both teams are at 4-1 in the group heading into their match-up on July 2. The Australians travel to the Philippine Arena where Gilas looks to defend home court and take the top slot in Group B heading into the next round.
Photo from FIBA.com