DARWIN, Australia – The Philippines defeated Torres Strait Islands, 105-61, Tuesday to start off its campaign in the men’s basketball competitions of the 2019 Arafura Games at the Marrara Indoor Stadium.
Bon Bulac led the Philippines’ pullaway in the second quarter, scoring back-to-back triples and a three-point play to put the team ahead, 41-21, behind a good-sized Filipino crowd who watched the afternoon game.
Head coach Cholo Elegino was happy to give a good performance in front of the Filipino fans, most of which either took a leave or skipped work just to watch the match.
“We never expected na ganun ‘yung (point) difference,” said Elegino. “We pushed the players kasi maraming Pinoy na nanonood. They are rooting for us and the support was overwhelming. Sabi ko nga, extra motivation. One way to reciprocate is show your effort.”
Elegino admitted there was also first game jitters as the Filipino cagers were only up by seven points, 24-17, at the end of the first period.
“Although experienced na sila, expected ‘yung first game jitters kasi it’s an international event. We told them na alam tayong mananalo tayo, just settle down, relax lang tayo kasi masyado tayong gigil,” said Elegino.
The Philippines will next face New Caledonia Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. (12 noon Manila time) as they go for a 2-0 record.