Gilas Pilipinas booked a seat in the second round of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers by routing India, 79 – 63, in Group A of their third window match at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Sunday evening, July 3.
The Philippines’ win came on the heels of a devastating 60 – 106 loss to the New Zealand Tall Blacks in Auckland on June 30.
Gilas also defeated the Indians, 88 – 64, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on February 25.
Thus, Gilas Pilipinas finished with a 2-2 win – loss card in Group A.
Dwight Ramos sparked the Gilas’ charge after sinking 21 points and grabbing five rebounds and four steals. Team captain Keifer Ravena chipped in 12 markers and William Navarro added 11.
Shaun Geoffrey Chiu also made his presence felt for the Gilas as he took 11 rebounds, big enough to keep the ball rolling for his team.
The match was close at the start with India taking an early lead but the Gilas, cheered on by an excited hometown crowd, showed much firepower to dominate their rivals in every quarter.
The struggling Indians could not get their acts together, succumbing to a series of misses, errors, and turnover, which the Gilas took advantage of to stretch their lead to 24, 48 – 24, nine minutes and nine seconds left in the third following Ramos’ back-to-back free throws.
However, India tried to stay alive through the efforts of Sahaij Pratap Singh Sekhon, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Arvind Kumar Muthu Krishnan, and Vivek Vinubhai Goti as they managed to trim the Philippines’ lead to 17 points ( 65 – 48 ) in the last 7:58 of the game.
But the Nenad Vucinic-coached Gilas again foiled India’s fourth-quarter rally attempt with an intensified defense while drilling in more baskets to secure the much-needed win.
Muin Bek Hafeez led India with 13 points as teammates Sekhon and Krishnan sank 12 markers apiece.
FIBA Group A
Group A teams unbeaten ( 4 – 0 ) New Zealand, ( 2 – 2 ) the Philippines, and winless ( 0 – 4 ) India will all advance into the second round following South Korea’s disqualification from the competition. The three squads will most likely join Group E along with Group C’s top three teams Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.
Only the top three teams of each of the two groups will secure berths in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup that will be co – hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.
Gilas coach Chot Reyes, in a post-game interview, said that the team is not complete as it is suffering from injuries and undermanned but they plan to add more players for the FIBA World Cup.
He admitted that it is most unlikely to get Kai Sotto’s services as the latter has decided to do other things.
Reyes said they are looking into the possibility of getting Bobby Ray Parks and Thirdy Ravena on board.
“ We’re looking to get another big man, that’s what we need, ” he added.
Troy Rosario could have also been included in the team but he is injured.
GILAS 79 – Ramos 21, Ravena 12, Navarro 11, Tamayo 9, Quiambao 6, Lopez 6, Abarrientos 5, Chiu 5, Abando 2, Belangel 2
INDIA 63 – Hafeez 13, Singh Sekhon 12, Muthu Krishnan 12, Bhriguvanshi 8, Singh Rawat 7, Goti 7, Prince 2, Aryan 2, Nayak 0, Tomar 0
Quarterscores: 21 – 10, 45 – 24, 65 – 44, 79 – 63