BOCAUE, Bulacan (UPDATE) - Facing off against a higher-seeded squad, Team Philippines put on a show to open their campaign in the 2018 FIBA 3x3 Basketball World Cup at the Philippine Arena.
The Filipinos, seeded 19th among 20 teams, bucked a slow start to rout No. 6 Brazil, 15-7, and kick off their FIBA 3x3 bid in style in front of an appreciative crowd at one of the largest indoor stadiums in the world.
A balanced effort got it done for Team Philippines as Stanley Pringle, Troy Rosario, and Roger Pogoy each scored four points, while Christian Standhardinger – who played despite an ailing left knee – contributed three points.
"All we wanted was to be as competitive, and stay with our opponents para may tsansa tayo sa dulo (so we'll have a chance in the end)," said Team PH coach Ronnie Magsanoc. "But our players were able to jump the gun on Brazil."
"I think it gave us a good buffer when everybody got tired dahil talagang mapapagod ka eh (because you will really get exhausted). So I think that’s a very good start for the team," he added.
The Filipinos took a while to get their bearings, and trailed 1-0 early on against a Brazil team that looked to take them out of their comfort zone with physical play. It took until the 8:32 mark for the Philippines to get on the board, off a Standhardinger lay-up plus a bonus free throw.
That was all the Filipinos needed to get untracked. Pogoy took advantage of the slow Brazil defense to knock down two jumpers, and Rosario bullied his defender inside the post to draw fouls.
Pringle, playing for the Philippines for the first time in his career, drew oohs and aahs from the crowd as he broke down Brazil's Carlos Silva Jr. on his way to the rim for lay-ups.
Team Philippines led by nine points, 11-2, with 5:40 left before Brazil mounted a rally behind Marcellus Sarmento. He scored three points in a 4-0 run to make it 11-6 with still 4:04 left.
Off a timeout, however, Rosario scored inside, then drew a foul on Brazil for a split at the line. Pringle then converted back-to-back lay-ups to push it to 15-6 with 1:14 left, and the Philippines cruised from there.
"Hopefully once again, when Mongolia comes in at around 6, the boys will be ready once again to compete until the end," said Magsanoc.
Mongolia is seeded 11th in the tournament. The Filipinos play them at 6:40 p.m.
PHILIPPINES 15 — Pogoy 4, Pringle 4, Rosario 4, Standhardinger 3.
BRAZIL 7 — Sarmento 4, Soriani 2, Evangelista 1, Silva 0.