By Mark Angelo Mañez


Gilas Pilipinas averted a disastrous start by dominantly burying their Indian visitors 88-64, inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup - Asia Qualifiers 2nd window, Friday night.

Dwight Ramos and Thirdy Ravena steadied the hosts' sails, combining for 32 points with the former aiming himself for another perfect offensive night. Ramos shot 67% from the field in 22 minutes, stacking up four boards, a swipe and three dimes.

Both squads still had jitters, as turnovers sprouted between them resulting in several attempts rattling out from point blank distance. 

All game long, they turned the ball over 35 times. Despite that horrible number, India stayed on their feet in the first 10 minutes, only trailing by five, 13-18.

Although both teams fired 69 attempts, coach Chot Reyes' wards performed better than his counterpart Veselin Metic. India made 27 of their attempts (39.1%), five less than their hosts who converted 32 (for a better 46.4% rate).

Naturalized center Ange Kouame patrolled both ends of the floor for the Philippines, chalking up decent numbers with his 6 points, 9 rebounds, two swipes and two rejections. 

Things went nearly off of Gilas after halftime almost popped out if not for some tweaks done, capping it with a near halfcourt bomb at the buzzer from Kib Montalbo which sealed India's fate.

Meanwhile, India had their moments during its first 20 minutes but simply couldn't find a potent antidote to nullify Gilas' eventual rampage. 

Sahaij Pratap Singh Sekhon carried the Young Cagers with his 14 markers in 33 minutes, while Prashat Singh Rawat added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Only New Zealand remained standing in Gilas' way as both teams square off on Sunday at the same venue.

Elsewhere, in Okinawa, reigning Asia Cup holders Australia barely flexed their muscles as they made mincemeat out of Chinese Taipei with their 98-61 manhandling.

Nick Kay towed four other Boomers in the blowout win as he cashed in 14 markers, on top of his seven boards and five dimes.

Chinese Taipei, meanwhile, had Taiwanese-American Will Artino carrying the squad with his 14-marker effort. He also chipped in eight boards and a swat.


Philippines (88) - Ramos 17, Ravena 15, Pogoy 12, Bolick 10, Montalbo 8, Kouame 6, Navarro 6, Erram 5, Williams 4, Gómez de Liaño 3, Rosario 2, Rangel 0.

India (64) - S.P. Singh Sekhon 14, Singh Rawat 13, Bhriguvanshi 9, Muthu Krishnan 7, Hafeez 6, A. Singh 6, Prince 5, P. Singh 4, Kumar 0, Manjunatha 0.


18-13, 44-32, 68-47, 88-64

Edited by Jostle Doen Pilayre