The Philippine national men’s basketball team, also known as Sinag Pilipinas, hurdled past hard-fighting Singapore team in today’s SEA Games opening game at the Zeya-thiri Stadium in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.
Winning their opening match, 88-75, at the 27th Southeast Asian Games, the Filipino cagers started out slow in the opening quarter, allowing the Singaporeans to take lead 22-13 to second quarter.
The boys seems at loss, unable to score and unable to defend early in the first quarter.
Determined not to be outclassed by the Singaporeans, they collected themselves and finally found their rhythm in the second quarter, overpowering the Singaporeans 20-11, and scoring a 33 all tie during half-time.
From there, the Filipino cagers did not look back and continued to out-power the hard-fighting and determined Singaporeans, winning the third quarter 31-25, and then sealing the match, 88-75, at the end of the game.
FEU’s Mac Belo scored 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way for the Filipinos while Marcus Douthit and Kevin Ferrer each added 14.
Douthit and Matt Ganuelas also had 10 rebounds each.
Amid Philippines win over Singapore, national coach Jong Uichico called it a “disappointing” win and he hoped that his wards have learned a thing or two from the match.
“We cannot play that way, na hindi na maka-score, hind pa maka-depensa,” said Uichico.
Uichico warned his wards that they can’t take opponents lightly.
“It’s all about state of mind. Hindi puwedeng masyado tayong relaxed, kasi madali ang kalaban. Tayo ang kalaban. Dapat ayusin natin ang sarili natin,” Uichico added.
Uichico, however, credited Singapore for not giving up against the Filipino cagers.
“They’ve improved a lot,” said Uichico. “We also have certain chemistry issues, pero it’s all about mindset.
“Hindi puwedeng isipin nating kayang-kaya ang kalaban. We have to realize na marunong din ang kalaban. Kung ganyan lagi ang iisipin natin, baka maisahan tayo,” the coach of the 2002 Asian Games basketball squad said.
The Filipino cagers will face Cambodia on Tuesday. The Cambodians defeated the host country, 75-60, in their first game.
Philippines (88) – Belo 16, Douthit 14, Ferrer 14, Parks 10, Ganuelas 9, Ravena 9, Sumang 8, Lanete 6, J. Pascual 2, Cruz 0.
Singapore (75) – Wong 23, Ng 11, Low 9, Wu 9, Lim 7, Oh 7, Liew 5, Goh 4, Hong 0, Tan 0.
Quarterscores: 13-22, 33-33, 64-58, 88-75.