AS he scored the layup that allowed Gilas Pilipinas to go up by 100 points for the first time on Friday night, Roger Pogoy got back on defense with an air of nonchalance as if nothing significant had just happened.
That typified how the Filipino dribblers were all business against Myanmar as they kept their feet on the gas pedal throughout on the way to a 147-40 victory at the start of the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship.
Asked about his thoughts on giving Gilas a 100-point lead at 140-40, Pogoy was surprised that it was his basket off a feed from Matthew Wright at the 2:58 mark that allowed them to reach the century mark.
“Di ko alam na galing sa’kin ‘yun,” the Gilas rookie insisted. “Basta sabi lang ni coach gagawin namin yung tama —wag namin biruin yung laban.”
“Ganun talaga yung gameplan namin, respetuhin yung kalaban,” he added.
National coach Chot Reyes explained that it was a “very fine line” between respecting and disrespecting their Asean neighbors.
“Kung mag-baboy naman kami, if we don't defend them, let them lay-up, and if we don't take shots or take haphazard shots and make haphazard plays, then that's a bigger sign of disrespect, not only for the opponent, but for the game,” Reyes said. “We talk a lot about winning the right way, playing the game the right way, and you know I'm sure even for Myanmar, they wouldn't want it any other way.”
“In all our travels, we've been on opposite ends of these scores as well,” he added. “When we played Australia in France, when they beat up on us, when we played the other World Cup teams, we've been on the other end of the stick, so we know how it feels. And even when we were a lot smaller and a lot less talented than the other teams, we never expected them to take it easy on us, because it's basketball.”
Pogoy, who turns 25 next month, delivered in his debut as he fired 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting – the most attempts in the team – on top of six boards, four assists, and four steals in 22 minutes as a starter.
“Siguro dahil lang din sa mga coaches at sa mga kasama ko, palagi nila akong sinasabihan, pag open, tira ka lang,” Pogoy said.
“Kahit si coach Jimmy (Alapag), laging sinasabi na pag open na, huwag nang iaatake, may attackers [naman] na kasi kami eh,” he added. “Pag open na, tira nalang namin nina Matthew and ni Allein.”