CHANGSHA, China — Gilas Pilipinas finished with a flourish after a nervous start, securing the No. 1 seeding in its group in the Fiba Asia Championship with a 99-65 victory over India on Tuesday at the Changsha Social Work College Gymnasium.
The Philippines did not take full control until the second quarter but was never threatened in the second half to cruise to the quarterfinals as top seed from Group E.
Terrence Romeo led the way this time, scoring 20 points, as Gilas registered its fifth straight win after an opening-day loss to Palestine.
Andray Blatche had 15 points for Gilas, which faces either Jordan or Lebanon in the quarterfinals.
India led by as many as five points early, but Gilas proved too strong in the end, with six Filipinos scoring in double figures.
Vishesh Briguvanshi scored 21, Amritpal Singh had 18 and Amjyot Singh added 11 for India, which still advanced as No. 4 seed from Group E.
Iran whipped Palestine, 94-48, on Tuesday to also finish with nine points, but the titleholders take the No. 2 spot due to Gilas Pilipinas' win on Monday.
Japan secured third spot with an 89-62 victory as Hong Kong ended the second round winless.
Coach Tab Baldwin was disappointed with the shaky start, and said they need to step it up as they enter the crucial stages of the tournament.
“Now the games are tough, all the opponents are tough (in the knockout stage)," said Baldwin.
Gilas Pilipinas 99 – Romeo 20, Blatche 15, De Ocampo 13, Castro 12, Abueva 12, Pingris 12, Hontiveros 6, Ganuelas 5, Norwood 2, Intal 2, Thoss 0, Taulava 0.
India 65 – Bhriguvanshi 21, Amritpal Singh 18, Amjyot Singh 11, Yadwinder Singh 7, Pari 5, Shinde 3, Kaushik 0, Prakash Uppar 0, Vikas Kumar 0, Arumugam 0, Gill 0.