MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The Philippine men's national basketball team took care of business against unfancied Uzbekistan, winning via an 85-50 rout to post their second victory in the FIBA Asia Cup in Japan Sunday.
With their victory, Smart Gilas Pilipinas booked a berth in the knockout stages of the tournament.
A day after gaining their first victory of the tourney with a 78-68 win over Lebanon, Gilas was barely threated by Uzbekistan as they took control of the contest through a huge second-quarter run.
After taking a 23-16 lead in the opening quarter, Gilas outscored Uzbekistan 16-5 in the second period to turn the game into a rout.
Smart Gilas continued their strong play into the third quarter, outscoring Uzbekistan 24-12. Gilas would lead by as much as 37 points, 83-46, off a Matthew Ganuelas dunk with 2:22 to go in the game.
"The challenge was for the players not to develop bad habits in this game. What we wanted was to improve our good habits on defense," Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said in an interview with PBA.ph.
Reyes also commended his team’s effort on the defensive end.
"I think we did well to stop them," Reyes said in an interview with FIBAAsia.net. "These are the games we need to put away like this. I am really proud of the way the team has reacted so far."
"Alam namin na five-deep lang ang line-up nila, kaya pinush namin ng pinush," he added.
Gilas held Uzbekistan to only 32% field goal shooting, and out-rebounded them 49-38. They had more assists (21-11) and steals (10-2) while taking care of the ball better (13-10 in turnovers).
Meanwhile, Uzbekistan could not stop Gilas from scoring as the Filipinos converted 44% of their attempts and had 46 points inside the paint.
With the team building a 39-21 halftime lead, Reyes opted to give his bench players key minutes. Ganuelas, a 22-year-old Filipino-American, responded well to his increased playing time, as he tallied eight points and 11 boards while making several highlight plays in 17 minutes.
Meanwhile, Jeff Chan emerged as the top scorer with 20 points on eight-of-15 shooting, as the Rain or Shine gunner broke out of his shooting slump.
"Nabutas ko rin ang ring," Chan said.
Gilas will aim to get a better seeding in the play-offs when they take on Macau on Monday morning.
"Pahinga uli ang mga starters, pero mage-ensayo kami sa gabi. Off kami sa Tuesday then ensayo uli sa Wednesday at laban na sa knockout stage," Reyes said.
Marcus Douthit played only 14 minutes but tallied nine points and four rebounds, while Ganuelas had eight points and 11 boards.
Vyacheslav Denisov led Uzbekistan with 16 points.
Philippines 85 – Chan 20, Dillinger 10, Douthit 9, Ganuelas 8, David 7, Fonacier 7, Reyes 7, Villanueva 6, De Ocampo 5, Norwood 4, Tenorio 2, Thoss 0.
Uzbekistan 50 – Denisov 16, Juginisov 12, Kozlov 6, Yakhin 6, Rahimov 6, Tangrikulov 2, Nuraliev 2, Nabiev 0, Safarov 0, Timofeev 0, Kadirov 0.
Quarterscores: 23-16, 39-21, 63-33, 85-50