Kouame Ange Kouame of the Philippines looks to make a play against three Bahrain defenders at the start of the Asian Games basketball competitions. PSC photo

Big start by Gilas in Asian Games

September 26, 2023 Robert Andaya 429 views
Filipinos celebrate Gilas’victory over Bahrain. PSC photo

JUSTIN Brownlee was unstoppable as usual and Gilas Pilipinas served notice of its renewed enthusiasm by overpowering Bahrain, 89-61, in the basketball competitions in the 19th Asian Games at the HOC Olympic Stadium on Tuesday.

Brownlee finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in another superb, all-around game for the Filipinos,who broke the game wide open in the second quarter enroute to a whopping 28-point winning margin over Bahrain and former PBA import Wayne Chism.

Ange Kouame and CJ Perez added 15 points each and Calvin Oftana contributed 10 points for the Tim Cone-mentored Filipinos, who are looking to make a lasting impression in the tournament a couple of weeks after a 24th-place finish the FIBA World Cup 2023.

Six-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and new addition Marcio Lassiter had eight points apiece for Gilas, which led by as much as 34 points late in the game.

Jameel Almoathin carried the fight for Bahrain with 14 points.

Chism, the 6-9 center who played for NLEX in 2017 and Magnolia Hotshots in 2018, was limited to only five points.

Cone, however, was quick to downplay the victory as he urged the team to prepare for Thailand and import Tyler Lamb, who will be Gilas’ next opponent on Thursday.

“We didn’t play Thailand in the Southeast Asian Games. We saw them in the SEA Games, but we’re not matched up against them because they were knocked out by Cambodia,” said Cone of the Thais.

Thailand dropped its opening-day assoignment against Jordan, 63-97, in another Pool C encounter.

The scores:

Philippines (89) – Brownlee 20, Kouame 15, Perez 15, Oftana 10, Fajardo 8, Lassiter 8, Thompson 5, Newsome 3, Alas 2, Aguilar 2, Ross 1, Tolentino 0.
Bahrain (61) – Almoathin 14, Rashed MHA 13, Rashed AHA 12, Buallay 8, Melad 6, Chism 5, Hamoda 3, Al Haddad 0, Kadhem 0, Hasan 0, Al Hassan 0.
Quarterscores: 22-18, 51-33, 72-47, 89-61.