ONE way or another, it is just fair to assume that Terrence Romeo’s hot hands in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup will eventually cool down.
That day came in the final game of the group stages in Beirut, Lebanon but Gilas Pilipinas hardly missed a beat after completing a sweep of Pool B with an 80-74 win over Qatar on Sunday.
Averaging 21.5 points per game entering the contest, Romeo hit a cold spell as he finished with 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting. He also missed all five of his attempts from beyond the arc after making eight of his 15 attempts from rainbow territory in the first two games against China and Iraq.
But if there’s one thing that this game proved, there’s more to Gilas than Romeo’s wizardry.
With their top gunner misfiring and top inside threat Christian Standhardinger sidelined by a stiff neck, the Philippines relied on excellent spacing and ball movement to fend off a stubborn Qatar side.
Of their 28 made field goal attempts, 23 came off passes, an excellent indication of selflessness from the players in coach Chot Reyes’ dribble-drive offense.
The 23 assists were also a good indication that Gilas is continuing to build better chemistry as the tournament goes on.
Against China, Gilas made 15 assists on 30 made field goals but that game would always be remembered for Romeo almost single-handily taking out the defending champions in the endgame.
Against Iraq, they fared better, having 20 of their 28 made shots coming off assists.
And with their prolific backcourt of Romeo and Jayson Castro relatively quiet in the Qatar game, there was no better time for that fluidity among the team to show.
The good spacing and movement resulted in open three-point shots for the Philippines as they knocked down 15 three pointers, their most number of output for the tournament.
So far in the group stages, the Philippines leads the tournament with most number of three-point field goals made as they made 37 of their 88 attempts through three matches.
Matthew Wright came out of the ashes and gladly took Romeo’s place as the team’s main source of offense as he racked up 25 points anchored on seven three-pointers.
Guys like Carl Bryan Cruz, Gabe Norwood and Castro all joined the three-point shooting party by hitting atleast two apiece.
As Gilas plays in the Quarterfinals of the tournament on Wednesday, the rabid fans of the Philippines could sleep well at night knowing that there are many different ways for the Philippines to win games.