Gilas ushers in new era, beats HK by 30

JUMPER. Gilas standout Dwight Ramos shoots a jumper against the defense of a Hong Kong player. / FIBA
JUMPER. Gilas standout Dwight Ramos shoots a jumper against the defense of a Hong Kong player. / FIBA

THE Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team demolished Hong Kong, 94-64, in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on Thursday night, Feb. 22, 2024 at the Tsuen Wan Stadium.

It was the first game of the Gilas under the new regime of coach Tim Cone — appointed as the team’s permanent mentor last month — and what a rousing debut it was.

Up by only four at halftime, 41-37, the Gilas upped their intensity and uncorked a 30-9 run in the third to establish a massive 71-46 advantage heading to the fourth. Kai Sotto, Jamie Malonzo and naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee oversaw that run, scoring half of the team’s output during that pivotal stretch.

Brownlee led the Gilas with 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, while UAAP MVP Kevin Quiambao had 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Sotto had an impressive double-double with 13 points and 15 boards, while Malonzo chipped in 11 markers.

“Hong Kong China played a great first half and shocked us. We didn’t think that they would play as well as they did,” Cone said after the game.

“I thought we came out a little tentative, but in the second half, I thought we were kinda relaxed a little bit, played better, defended better, and got on a little bit of a run. The crowd helped us gain some momentum,” Cone added.

The Philippines will head home and play against Chinese Taipei on Sunday at the Philsports Arena.

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