THE Philippines overcame a shaky start to beat Singapore, 88-75, in its opening game in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball tournament on Monday at the Zayar Thiri Indoor Stadium in Naypyitaw.
Mark Belo scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half where the Philippines pulled away for good against a pesky Singaporean side. The Far Eastern University slotman also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Sinag Pilipinas won despite being held to a 33-33 tie at halftime by hard-fighting Singapore, which lost to Thailand in its opening game on Sunday.
Asean Basketball League campaigner Wei Long Wong even gave Singapore a 43-39 lead in the third before the Filipino cagers finally got their game going in that period to enter the fourth with a 64-58 lead.
The Singaporeans also led 20-13 at the end of the first period.
Marcus Douthit had 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Kevin Ferrer added 14 markers for Sinag, which will face Cambodia on Tuesday.
The coaching staff headed by Jong Uichico expressed disappointment with the play of Sinag, the overwhelming favorites to win the gold in the SEA Games.
“Need to play better defense. Gave up too many layups and offensive rebounds. Too many fouls too. Need to adjust to calls,” said assistant coach Nash Racela in a message to Spin.ph.
“Won our 1st game but played very poorly by our standards,” wrote national assistant coach Josh Reyes on his Twitter account. “Got to unlearn the PBA D-league type of D coz it gets called as a foul every time. Gave up too many FT's & Off Rebs.”
The Philippines missed the services of Kevin Alas, who was out with the flu.
Philippines (88) – Belo 16, Douthit 14, Ferrer 14, Parks 10, Ravena 9, Ganuelas 9, Sumang 8, Lanete 6, J. Pascual 2, Cruz 0, R. Pascual 0.
Singapore (75) – W. Wong 23, H. Ng 11, W. Low 9, Q. Wu 9, W. Oh 7, S. Lim 7, H. Liew 5, K. Goh 4, C. Tan 0, W. Hong 0.
Quarterscores: 13-20; 33-33; 64-58; 88-75.