By Mark Angelo Mañez


Gilas Pilipinas once again proved their might as they pounced regional rivals Indonesia, 76-51, at the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, Friday evening at the AUF Gymnasium, Pampanga.

Current Indonesia head coach Rajko Toroman is all praises of what the youth-laden Philippine squad has done inside the bubble.

“It’s great for basketball in the Philippines to have Gilas, because all these players are very talented,” Toroman expressed.

The Serbian tactician was also impressed with the size Gilas has, mentioning Ange Kouame and Kai Sotto in particular.

Kouame punctuated the match with 11 points, 5 boards, a steal, and a block in just 20 minutes. Sotto, meanwhile, provided stiff resistance, contributing for 7 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block.

Apart from Kouame and Sotto, other towering kids brought significant impact on Gilas. Justine Baltazar chipped in 11 and 9, while Carl Tamayo chimed in six markers.

“For me, I can say, they are in the level of PBA teams with the size. You have Kouame and Kai Sotto. That’s great size,” the former Barako Bull consultant further stated.

From a slender eight point lead after 20 minutes, Gilas Pilipinas started breaking away with timely buckets from its arsenal. Dwight Ramos led the rampage, chipping out a 10-point 12-board double-double.

Carl Tamayo, meanwhile, suffered an ankle sprain after stepping on Arki Dikanya Wisnu’s foot midway in the payoff period. He had to be taken out via wheelchair with doctors assessing his condition.

“It’s just about time when they will show that they are a good team,” the 66-year-old Toroman further added, who led Iran to its only Olympic appearance in 2008.

“Don’t expect a miracle from Serbia because they still don’t have the experience to play against great teams like Serbia and the Dominican Republic. Now, in the time of Corona, you won’t have that much international games, but it will be good for them.”