ONCE AGAIN E-Gilas marches briskly on the road to redemption, as the Philippine national NBA 2K squad perseveres to sweep Mongolia, 95-35 and 64-58, and advance to the final stage of the Fiba Esports Open.
Game 1 of the best-of-three series began with a confident E-Gilas, who are looking to regain the regional championships after they lost it to Australia in the last Open. The Philippine team finished the first quarter with a 19-3 bonanza, and the differential only widened from there, with point guard Aljon ‘Shintarou’ Cruzin unstoppable on the floor, taking wide-open threes or sharp cuts into the paint almost at will.
Botched opportunities and an indefatigable PH defense kept the lid on the older Mongolian squad, who are making their first appearance in the regional esports tilt.
Cruzin ended the game with 36 points, making 13 out of 15 of his field goals and throwing up a dizzying 10 three point shots.
But if E-Gilas thought that Game 2 would be a similar walk in the park, they thought wrong.
Game 2, played almost immediately after the first, saw an invigorated Mongolia squad nipping close at E-Gilas’ heels.
Ending the first quarter with a seven-point deficit, a big three from point guard Odkchuu ‘Starboy_YouTube’ Dechin at 1 minute left in the second quarter got Mongolia to within 1. Then, a clean slam from Starboy_YouTube at 30 ticks left in the third frame finally tied the game at 43-43.
But E-Gilas recovered their composure in the deciding quarter. A deep 24-foot three from Rial ‘Rial’ Polog at 33 seconds left sealed the deal for the Philippines.
Despite a tougher Mongolian defense, Shintarou was able to match his Game 1 performance with another 36 points at the decider.
E-Gilas will face the winner of the ongoing Indonesia-Vietnam semis in the grand finals scheduled for tomorrow.