WITH the biggest name on the squad on street clothes, the Philippines opened its basketball stint in the Asian Games on a positive note, routing Kazakhstan, 96-59, at the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex yesterday.
Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who got the clearance from the NBA to suit up for the Philippines, arrived in Indonesia after tip-off and was able to join the team. He didn’t see action as he came straight from the airport.
However, against Kazakhstan, Stanley Pringle and the rest of the hastily-assembled Philippine team showed they didn’t have a need of the NBA player as they jumped to an early lead, taking advantage of the shooting woes of Kazhakstan.
The Philippines got the lead early, 12-2, but allowed Kazhakstan to get closer through numerous fouls before making it 16-9 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, James Yap and Stanley Pringle teamed up to lead a late charge as the Philippines stretched a 25-15 lead to 38-19 with 72 seconds left before the break.
Kazahkstan scored a free throw but Pringle hit another three to make it 41-20 at the break.
“The coaching staff did a great job with the scouting report and the team’s preparation. We were able to disrupt the offense and we were able to challenge their shots. The guys were mentally tough and mentally prepared. We had a very short time to prepare for this tournament, but everything just fell into place,” coach Yeng Guiao told ESPN 5.
Kazakhstan managed to cut the lead in the third after outscoring the Philippines, 23-20, but it was all Philippines in the fourth as they pulled away early to bring the outcome beyond doubt.
Pringle led the team with 18 points, including two three-pointers, while Christian Standhardinger had 15 on a 7 of 11 shooting. Yap also made two three pointes and logged 12 points.
The Philippines will have a four-day rest before taking on tournament favorite China on Aug. 21. (ML)