Gilas Pilipinas successfully logged a commanding 2-0 record in the ongoing 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers after overcoming the threat of team Chinese Taipei in front of Filipino fans in Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Admit it or not but Filipino fans watching the game got some heavy pounding heart during the start of the first quarter.
Wasting no time, the visiting team made a surge and buried Gilas Pilipinas 3-17 led by Quincy Davis who became unstoppable.
Coach Chot Reyes quickly reacted to the situation and told his boys to respect the game and not be overconfident. Then a three-man substitution where he inserted June Mar Fajardo, Calvin Abueva and RR Pogoy replacing Andray Blatche, Gabe Norwood and Matthew Wright.
The new combination went well for the Philippines basketball team and closed the gap to five points at the end of the opening period, 18-23. June Mar Fajardo puts the naturalized player of Chinese Taipei to foul trouble but the Taiwanese locals were able to hangon until the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Gilas Pilipinas found its knockout punch behind the hot shooting of Matthew Wright who poured 11 points. Nine points of those points came from the behind the three-point area but the most important thing that happen is the momentum completely shifted to host country.
With Andray Blatche having difficulty finding his rhythm, the PBA’s four-time Most Valuable Player took over the scoring slack and delivered 17 points, 8 rebounds and 2 block shots.
Jayson Castro William scored another 20 points performance while his backup point guard Keifer Ravena added 9 points.
Philippines (90) – William 20, Fajardo 17, Wright 11, Pogoy 11, Ravena 9, Abueva 8, Blatche 6, Norwood 5, Aguilar 3
Chinese Taipei (83) – Davis III 20, Chou 17, Huang 16, Liu 7, Tsai 6, Chou 4, Chiang 2, Chen 2