It was a game that Gilas Pilipinas would want to forget
Photo from FIBA
Gilas Pilipinas opened its FIBA World Cup 2019 campaign with a blowout loss to Italy, 108-62 at the GBA International Sports and Cultural Center in Foshan, China on Aug. 31, Saturday.
From the start, the Filipinos found themselves ice cold from the field after just converting four out of 13 shots. It didn’t help that Italy’s deadly outside shooting was on full display, which gave them a 37-8 advantage early in the first quarter.
The momentum continued for the Italians as they went on to shoot 58 percent from the field throughout the game. Italy’s big man Luigi Datome scored 17 points in just 16 minutes of play. NBA forward Danilo Gallinari also chipped in 16 points and spiked four treys while Marco Belinelli converted nine points, which helped stretched Italy’s lead to 62-24 at the end of the first half.
Meanwhile, the Philippine team’s top scorers were CJ Perez and Robert Bolick who combined for 21 points. Gilas’ big man, Andray Blatche contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds but committed nine out of the team’s 23 turnovers. The Philippines’ shooting woes continued in the second half and only managed to score 38 points by the end of the fourth quarter.
In order to advance to the next round, Gilas Pilipinas must defeat Serbia on Monday. Serbia is currently the third best team in the world and their win against Angola, 105-59, proved just that.
No match from the start
Before the Philippine team left for Foshan on Thursday, head coach Yeng Guiao mentioned that the first game against Italy is going to determine the fate of the country in the World Cup. Unfortunately, the team’s biggest weapon (perimeter shooting) was nowhere in sight. It didn’t help that Blatche also couldn’t get a field goal from the get-go.
Gilas Pilipinas will now need to pull out all the stops to even make it to the next round. Serbia, led by NBA star Nikola Jokic, is going to be another nightmare for the Philippines. Serbia is known for its depth, size (half of its roster consists of players taller than 6’10), and star power.
The biggest advantage of this team is their ability to dictate their style of play. All four centers in Serbia’s roster specifically Jokic, Boban Marjanovic, Nikola Milutinov, and Miroslav Raduljic are enormous inside the paint, have played in the NBA, and could possibly be the Philippines’ biggest threat.