GILAS Pilipinas tightened up in the second half to trample Talk ‘N Text, 93-77, for a rousing start to its MVP Cup campaign on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The national dribblers found stiff resistance from a rag-tag Tropang Texters’ side early, but pulled away in the second half thanks to a fluid offensive play led by Terrence Romeo.
The GlobalPort star provided the biggest spark off the bench, scattering game-highs of 22 points and six assists, along with five boards in less than 24 minutes on the court.
“It felt a little bit like a scrimmage,” Gilas coach Tab Baldwin said. “We were a bit upset with our defensive intensity in the first half, but we shaped up in the third quarter.”
“The offense flowed pretty well tonight,” he added.
Evidence of Gilas’ offensive chemistry came halfway through the fourth quarter when Romeo dished a nifty feed to Calvin Abueva, who finished with a stab to give them their biggest lead at 83-63.
The Texters scored nine unanswered points after that to pull to within 11 points, but Romeo retaliated with back-to-back triples to put the game to bed.
Next up for Gilas is New Zealand on Saturday in a rematch of their thrilling Jones Cup match that the Filipinos won, 92-88, in overtime.
GILAS 93 – Romeo 22, Castro 14, Blatche 12, De Ocampo 12, Abueva 8, Intal 7, Thoss 6, Taulava 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Pingris 2, Norwood 0, Hontiveros 0
TNT 77 – Fonacier 20, Tautuaa 16, Seigle 8, Sumalinog 5, Rosario 5, R. Reyes 3, Miranda 2, Carey 2, Labagala 2, J. Reyes 2, Espiritu 0, Aban 0
Quarterscores: 23-22, 45-40, 69-52, 93-77