Gilas Pilipinas came out victorious in the first of back-to-back friendly matches versus Australia’s Adelaide 36ers, 92-83, at the Meralco Gym in Pasig on Friday.
Led by naturalized center Andray Blatche — who finished an assist shy of a triple-double with 19 points, 18 boards, and nine dimes — Gilas bucked the visitors’ valiant comeback in the second half and used a 10-0 run in the final canto to preserve the W. Back-to-back triples from RR Pogoy sparked the run, while a two-handed monster jam by Japeth Aguilar with 35 ticks left sealed the deal.
Here’s a breakdown of how the Filipino quintet got the job done last night.
Fewer shots, higher field goal percentage
Rather than their usual run-and-gun style, the Filipinos took a slower approach and maximized the shot clock in most of their possessions. Adelaide took more field goal attempts (71-60) and had a huge advantage in fastbreak points over the hosts, 23-7.
Gilas opted to go for quality over quantity, making 55 percent of its field goals (33-for-60), contrary to the 36ers’ 46 percent clip (33-of-71). Of the eleven players fielded into the game by coach Yeng Guiao, only June Mar Fajardo (33 percent) and Troy Rosario and Gabe Norwood (scoreless) failed to convert 50 percent of their attempts.
Gilas also went 10-for-24 from distance (41 percent) and only missed three of its 19 total attempts from the charity stripe (84 percent).
Jumpin’ Japeth got it going on offense
Usually taking a backseat to more polished bigs like Blatche and Fajardo, the defensive-minded Aguilar excelled on the on other end of the floor against the Aussies. The high-flying forward was pure business throughout the 24 minutes he was on the floor, completing several highlight worthy posters over Adelaide’s frontline.
Aguilar was the most efficient Gilas player last night, tallying 17 markers on 7-of-9 shooting (77 percent). He also connected on one one three-pointer and added four boards and three blocked shots.
Bench mob showed up
Coach Guiao often gives his entire roster equal opportunity to shine on the floor, and the reserves repaid that trust by playing hard till the final buzzer. CJ Perez (12 points), Paul Lee (10), and Pogoy (10) finished in double figures off the bench, while Raymond Almazan and Fajardo pitched in seven and four, respectively. The home team outscored the 36ers’ bench, 43-39.
Gilas will seek to go 2-0 against Adelaide when they match up once more on Sunday, August 25.