By CARLO ANOLIN
Gilas Pilipinas absorbed a 46-point beating at the hands of New Zealand, 106-60, in the third window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Thursday, June 30 at the EventFinda Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
Gilas fell to a 1-2 record in Group A after its penultimate game in the first round while the Tall Blacks topped the division elims undefeated in four games.
New Zealand set the pace from the get-go and led by as many as 26 points after the first half as the 11-man Gilas struggled big time on both ends.
The Tall Blacks, who were almost flawless from the free-throw line by making 21 of 22 gift shots-of-22, showed total team effort and even stretched the lead to 30 points, 73-43, heading into the payoff period to pull away for good.
The Philippine men’s basketball team is still under fire after losing to Indonesia in the gold medal match in the Hanoi SEA Games in May.
Gilas also suffered a huge blow in the fourth quarter as Carl Tamayo, the top scorer for Gilas, had to be taken out of the game due to an apparent sprained ankle.
Dion Prewster spearheaded New Zealand with 15 points while five other Tall Blacks scored in double digits courtesy of Finn Delany (14), Jordan Ngatai (12), Ethan Rusbatch (12), Corey Webster (11), and Shea Ili (10).
Both teams actually struggled from beyond the arc but Gilas fared even badly, making only four of 25 tries, two of them coming from Tamayo and each for Rhenz Abando, and SJ Belangel compared to the Tall Blacks’ 9-of-33 three-point shooting clip.
Tamayo paced Gilas with 16 points along with five rebounds while Abando and Francis Lopez added 11 and eight points, respectively.
Dwight Ramos chipped in six points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals for Gilas while team captain Kiefer Ravena had six points as well.
The national team will fly back home to the Philippines and is set to face India on Sunday, July 3 to wrap up its first round campaign at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Still, New Zealand, the Philippines, and India are still the top three teams moving to the next round beginning Aug. 25 due to South Korea’s disqualification.