Gilas Pilipinas’ Justin Brownlee pulls up for a basket against the defense of a Bahrain defender during the 19th Asian Games men’s basketball on Tuesday, September 26, 2023. (POC photo)
By ADRIAN STEWART COGilas Pilipinas kicked off their 19th Asian Games men’s basketball campaign with a dominant 89-61 triumph over Bahrain at the HOC Gymnasium in Hangzhou, China on Tuesday afternoon, September 26.
Jaymar Perez and Angelo Kouame spearheaded the offense with 15 points apiece, while Justin Brownlee and Calvin Oftana added 14 and 10 markers, respectively, for the Philippine men’s basketball team.
Holding to a slim 22-18 lead after the first 10 minutes, Gilas Pilipinas broke away in the second period behind Perez, Brownlee and Kouame to establish a 51-33 advantage at the half.
Gilas Pilipinas went on to pull away in the third quarter with Oftana heating up from the outside and Kouame dominating inside as the lead went up to as high as 34 points late in the fourth quarter.
Maitham Jameel Almothin top-scored for Bahrain with 14 points, Mustafa Rashad and Ali Husain Rashad added 13 and 12 points, respectively, while former PBA import Wayne Chism ended with five points.
Gilas Pilipinas interim coach Tim Cone was quick to put behind their victory over Bahrain, stressing the need to prepare for their matchup against Tyler Lamb and the rest of Thailand on Thursday morning, September 28.
“We didn’t play Thailand in the Southeast Asian [SEA] Games. We saw them in the SEA Games, but we’re not matched up against them. They were knocked out by Cambodia,” Cone said.
Ilonggo John Bryan Sajonia, John Bismarck Lina, Justine Sanchez, and Janrey Pasaol chalked up their second win in the men’s 3×3 basketball competition after a 17-12 win over Chinese-Taipei.
Clinging to a slim lead midway in the game, Pasaol unloaded consecutive layups to widen the lead of Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 before Lina and Sanchez put on the finishing touches in the win.
Meanwhile, Ilonggo wushu bet Arnel Mandal was assured of a medal finish after reaching the semifinals round of the men’s sanda 56-kilogram category at the Xiaoshan Guali Sports Centre on Tuesday night.
Mandal, a one-time world champion in the combat event, sent Uzbekistan’s Jamshidbek Guliboev to the canvas twice and scored on kicks and multiple punches to prevail, 2-0, in the quarterfinals.
Aside from 27-year-old Mandal, Gideon Fred Padua was assured of a podium finish in the men’s 60kg category after prevailing over Turkmenistan’s Agajumageldi Yazymov, 2-0, in the quarterfinals.
Clemente Tabugara, Jr. also assured himself of a medal finish in the Asiad after reaching the men’s 65kg semifinals after a 2-0 beating of Kazakhstan’s Abdusamat Ashirov in the quarterfinals.
Filipina tennis sensation Alex Eala also secured herself a medal finish after a come-from-behind 0-6, 7-5, 6-0 win over Japan’s Kyoka Okamura in the women’s singles quarterfinal round.
On the other hand, Filipina Margielyn Didal failed to repeat in the women’s skateboarding street event at the QT Roller Sports Centre in Hangzhou yesterday morning.
The Cebuana skateboarder was hobbled by an ankle injury as she managed just 23.39 combined points in the runs and tricks category, good for eighth and last place in the finals.
Didal stumbled in the early part of her first run and was unable to finish her stunt to settle for 23.39 points. She failed to redeem herself on her second run, where she fell twice for a 12.83 score.
Didal, the 2018 Asiad gold medal winner, stumbled anew on her three attempts at the trick before opting to discontinue her last two attempts due to her injury.
In taekwondo, Dave Cea (men’s -80kg) and Arven Alcantara (men’s -68kg) progressed to the next round after winning their round-of-16 matches, while Laila Delo faltered in the women’s -67kg.
PHILIPPINES 89 — Perez 15, Kouame 15, Brownlee 14, Oftana 10, Lassiter 8, Fajardo 8, Thompson 5, Newsome 3, Aguilar 2, Alas 2, Ross 1, Tolentino 0.
BAHRAIN 61 — Almoathin 14, M. Rashed 13, A. Rashed 12, Buallay 8, Melad 6, Chism 5, Hamoda 3, Kadhem 0, Alhaddad 0, Hasan 0, Alhassan 0.
Quarterscores: 22-18, 51-33, 72-47, 89-61./ASC, WDJ