Aguilar shines as Gilas destroys Thailand, 108-53 for 4th straight SEABA win

Japeth Aguilar vs Thailand

Japeth Aguilar had a perfect shooting night to help Gilas Pilipinas overcame a sloppy start and pull away from Thailand’s challenge, 108-53 in the 2017 SEABA Championships on Tuesday, May 16 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The 6-foot-9 Aguilar scored a Gilas tournament-high 23 points on an unblemished 10-of-10 shooting from the field, leading 72 bench points for the national team. He added five rebounds and two blocks. Calvin Abueva added 15 points and six assists while Andray Blatche and Terrence Romeo each tallied 11 points.

“He’s hard to handle. He’s long, athletic. We don’t have guys to match-up (with him),” Thailand head coach Timothy Charles Lewis said of Aguilar.

Gilas improved to 4-0 in the tournament and will round out their schedule against Vietnam on Wednesday, May 17 and likewise Indonesia on Thursday, May 18.

The national team had a sloppy first quarter, turning the ball over five times as they failed to increase the margin early on. Thailand gave Gilas a good challenge, with Patiphan Klahan scoring seven in the first quarter alone.

“I thought we played really well in the first quarter. I thought defensively, they did what we asked them to do. We were effective offensively. We got down the floor, we pushed, then we just lost our momentum and our feel,” Lewis said.

“The first words I had in the pre-game was we are going to be tested in this game,” Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said. “Thailand is playing very well. They are long, athletic, they are well-coached. They do a great job packing the lane defensively and they use their length to close out on shooters.”

Gilas led by just four, 18-14 after the first 10 minutes before they were able to finally create some considerable margin in the next period. Aguilar was the star of the show, finishing off plays with thunderous slam dunks and even hitting jumpers from up to the three-point line.

“I thought our second unit gave us a lift. Japeth played a hell of a game. I think thay second unit with Terrence, Japeth, and Calvin really gave us separation,” Reyes said.

“In the past games, Japeth was content in the supporting role,” he added. “And then today, when Thailand did an excellent job on our other offensive weapons, Japeth came through. He took advantage of the opportunity.”

He scored 15 first half points as the Philippines took a 51-26 advantage into their locker rooms. Aguilar continued to pick up from where he left off in the third quarter before Abueva and Romeo took turns in running the Gilas offense.

“The second unit of the Philippines was really strong,” Lewis said.

Gilas shot 53 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from the three-point line. They had 17 more rebounds than Thailand, 50-33, and led by as much as 59.

Teerawat Chanthachon was the only double-digit scorer for Thailand with 16 points. Thai star Chitchai Ananti was held scoreless while attempting only two shots in over 15 minutes of action.

Written by Levi Verora Jr
Photos by Glenn Michael Tan

The Scores:
Gilas Pilipinas – Aguilar 23, Abueva 15, Blatche 11, Romeo 11, Fajardo 9, Maliksi 8, Wright 7, Castro 6, Jalalon 6, Rosario 6, Almazan 4, Pogoy 2.

Thailand – Chanthachon 16, Klahan P. 7, Muangboon 7, Samerjai 7, Ghogar 6, Suthonsiri 4, Klahan C. 2, Dasom 2, Boonserm 2, Ananti 0, Lodliang 0, Jaisanuk 0.

Quarterscores: 18-14, 51-26, 80-43, 108-53.

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