Gilas a win away from World Cup qualification process after beating Vietnam

Matthew Wright vs Vietnam

Gilas Pilipinas trounced Vietnam, 107-52 on Wednesday, May 17 in the 2017 SEABA Championships at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City to move a step away from the qualification process for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Matthew Wright’s 19 points on five triples led five players in double-digits for Gilas, which shall now face likewise undefeated Indonesia in the final day of the tournament tomorrow, May 18.

The winner of the Gilas-Indonesia match will make the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup and also the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualification process which starts in November this year.

“It’s a competition. The essence of sports is you can ever be sure. That’s why we keep on harping on the fact that we can’t take things for granted and we would like to think the things we’ve done at this point will get us prepared for tomorrow,” Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said.

“From the start we knew Indonesia is going to be the toughest opponent. We find ourselves here. They are raring to go as well and they have a couple of guys who are very fresh.”

Raymond Almazan had a perfect shooting night, making all seven attempts en route to scoring 16 points. Calvin Abueva also added 16 points. Terrence Romeo and Jio Jalalon each had six assists for the national team.

Gilas saw a different starting unit with Wright, Abueva, June Mar Fajardo, Terrence Romeo, and Troy Rosario opening the game. They started the ball game on fire from beyond the arc, with Wright making two while Jayson Castro and Allein Maliksi each adding one long range connection.

The Philippines shot 50 percent from three-point area in the opening quarter, and a string of 14 unanswered points after Vietnam took a 5-4 edge momentarily gave them the 18-5 advantage.

“We went into this ball game with the intent and purpose of making sure we keep our discipline and maintain our good habits,” Reyes said.

It took a little while for Gilas to grow their lead, but once they got going, they were never threatened again.

“Overall, still a pretty good effort from our guys,” Reyes said.

The team opted to sit Andray Blatche out for the entire contest, more of a precautionary measure from Reyes to rest his center’s hamstring.

Still, Gilas shot 61 percent overall and 40 percent from three-point land, and assisted 27 of their 41 field goal makes.

Nguyen Thanh Nhan led Vietnam with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting.

Written by Levi Verora Jr
Photos by Glenn Michael Tan

The Scores:
Gilas Pilipinas – Wright 19, Abueva 16, Almazan 16, Rosario 12, Jalalon 10, Maliksi 8, Castro 7, Pogoy 7, Aguilar 5, Romeo 4, Fajardo 3.

Vietnam – Nguyen T. N. 11, Trieu 9, Nguyen V. H. 9, Le N. T. 8, Tran 7, Le P. 4, Dang 2, Nguyen H. 2, To 0.

Quarterscores: 28-16 53-29, 89-40, 107-52.

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