HWASEONG, South Korea - Gilas Pilipinas survived its first test in the basketball competitions of the 17th Asian Games on Tuesday, turning back a vastly improved India side, 85-76, at the Hwaseong Sports Complex here.
Jeff Chan scored seven of his 11 first-half points in a 16-0 start for the Philippines to set the tone for the win in its first game in the Group E preliminaries which assured Gilas Pilipinas of a spot in the next round.
June Mar Fajardo also stood out by scoring 12 points in the first half for Gilas Pilipinas, which will go for a sweep of the group phase against Asian champion Iran on Thursday at the same venue located about an hour from Incheon.
However, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes was clearly not happy with the victory, saying the game could've been a lot closer if India was not playing its third successive game in the group phase.
“I think if they were a lot fresher, if they didn’t play their fourth game in four days, it would have been a much difficult time for us,” said Reyes. “We are happy to come out with the victory and hopefully, we could get better.”
Six players scored in double figures in a balanced scoring attack, but the win was by no means easy as India's size and three-point shooting created a lot of problems for the Filipinos.
Gary David also contributed for Gilas, scoring five in a 7-0 run in the second period for a 31-19 lead. Japeth Aguilar came away with an alley-oop dunk to help the Philippines end the first half with a 50-37 lead.
After Gilas’ lead was sliced to single digits, Marcus Douthit and LA Tenorio also spearheaded a 10-0 run for the Philippines to take control, 62-44, in the third period.
However, India got within eight points in the endgame and could have drawn closer had it made a couple more good looks at the basket.
Chan finished with 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting from threes while Douthit added 14 points and 10 rounds. David ended up with 13 points, Fajardo with 12 points and nine rebounds, followed by Tenorio and Aguilar with 10 each.
A scary moment occurred in the waning minutes when Indian player Singh Pratam slipped and hit his head on the floor. He was taken off in a stretcher after the game.
Gilas Pilipinas (85) – Chan 14, Douthit 14, David 13, Fajardo 12, Aguilar 10, Tenorio 10, De Ocampo 4, Norwood 3, Lee 2, Dillinger 2, Alapag 1, Pingris 0.
India (76) – Amritpal 16, Amjyot 15, Joginder 13, Bhriguvanshi 13, Pratham 11, Brar 6, Pethani 2, Grewal 0,Pari 0, Mishra 0, Sivakumar 0, Yadwinder 0.
Quarters: 24-16, 50-37, 70-56, 85-76.