BEFORE the championship series commenced, E-Gilas had convincingly buried Australia in back-to-back avalanches: 81-55 last night, and then 76-45 in today's evening qualifiers.
But when it counted the most, E-Gilas seemingly lost its nerve.
With a freshly energized offense, the E-Boomers turned the tables around and defeated the Philippine team in a best-of-three series, 62-54 in Game 1 and 69-54 in Game 2.
In the first game, E-Gilas chased an insurmountable lead.
Shooter Clark “Clark” Banzon was able to kickstart a PH comeback in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. With a minute left, the Philippines was just down by 6, 60-54.
But the Australians recovered, thanks to flashy scoring from point guard Jonte “AnkleTV” Burns, who ended the game with 15 points.
The story was more of the same in Game 2.
The E-Boomers started strong right off the gate, holding the Filipinos to just 12 points even as long-range splashes from Benjamin “Waurk” Klobas and Cooper “Coopr” Cameron built an unbreakable lead.
Poor shooting became the bane of the Philippine side. Suffocated by the defense, point guard Shintarou swung the ball to the corner to either Rial “Rial” Polog Jr. or Custer “Custer” Galas for three-point chances that never panned out.
Already leading by a respectable 13 points at a half, the E-Boomers easily put E-Gilas away at the second half. Aussie sniper Kyle “Vassallo” Vassallo nailed threes of his own for 10 points in the third quarter, while team captain Max “Squoogs” Ellwood dunked his way to 9 points in the payoff period.
In the final frame, E-Gilas mounted a mini rally of its own with a combined 17 points to Australia’s 12. But it was too little, too late for the NBA 2K national team.
The usually prolific Aljon “Shintarou” Cruzin was held to only 16 points in Game 1, and 13 markers in Game 2.
In a post-match conference, team captain Squoogs gave a hat tip to E-Gilas.
“They’re a great team, which just makes it better. They smacked us a couple of times yesterday and tonight as well. They’re a really good team and we just powered through it,” said the 21-year-old Australian esports pro.
How did the team pick themselves up from the back-to-back mauling they had received from E-Gilas?
“We felt we were letting them play exactly how they wanted to play We wanted to put a little pressure on them so they were uncomfortable. We felt they were just able to do whatever they wanted, and once we were able to push them away from what they were doing, [E-Gilas] got rattled a bit.”
Point guard Benjamin “Waurk” Klobas was awarded as the MVP of the conference.