Gilas Pilipinas road to redemption after 51-point romp of Hongkong only the beginning for Gilas bounce back in FIBA Asia tilt, says coach Tab Baldwin.
The Philippine national men’s basketball team responded strongly to their opening day defeat to Palestine, making a show of strength against East Asian side Hong Kong, 101-50, to remind everyone why they were tabbed to be the favorite in this Group B of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in the first place.
But Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin believes that this win, however large the margin, will not be enough to make up for their lackluster showing in their first game.
“We didn’t get that game out of our system yet. The expectation from the coaching staff is that was just the start of the road of redemption from yesterday,” Baldwin said during the post-game press conference at the CSWC Dayun on Wednesday.
The veteran coach stressed the need for the Gilas team to redeem itself, especially in the eyes of its passionate Filipino fans back home that were let down by the stunning 75-73 defeat to Palestine, a team competing in the FIBA Asia tilt for the first time.
“It’s important for us to do that. It’s important for our fans. It’s important that everybody that’s part of Philippine basketball knows that this team has ‘Puso’ and that they will show it every time we step on the floor because yesterday, I don’t think we did enough.”
The Philippines, which was named among the list of top contenders for the tournament’s championship alongside defending titlists Iran and host China, will have more work to do before they can get past that loss, according to their coach.
Behind Siu Wing Chan’s seven straight points, Hong Kong managed to threaten for a run and was able to keep within just 13 points, 28-15, after the first quarter.
But Gilas Pilipinas pulled away in the second quarter as the team’s outside shooting finally clicked. Hontiveros fired three triples in the first half alone, while Castro and Blatche made their own long bombs to give the Filipinos a 51-22 cushion at halftime.
Gilas Pilipinas never looked back and unlike in its meltdown against Palestine, the squad continued to pounce on the hapless Hong Kong and even erected a 50-point lead, 88-38, to cruise to the victory.
The Filipinos found their shooting touch in this win, making 14 of 34 triples for a 41.2 percent clip. The Filipinos also made 50 percent of its two-point baskets (21 of 42) while also lording it over the boards, 62-38.
Terrence Romeo also contributed 11 points while Ranidel De Ocampo regained his offensive prowess and came up with 10 points.
“We don’t redeem ourselves until we wipe out every bit of doubt in everybody’s mind. That’s who we are.”