Gilas Pilipinas stayed on a roll from its Jones Cup second-place windup, drubbing Talk n Text, 93-77, at the start of the MVP Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night.
Terrence Romeo topscored with 22 points, including four triples, Jayson Castro contributed 14 while Andray Blatche and Ranidel de Ocampo added 12 apiece as the Nationals got by the Texters in preparation for an expected tougher test against the Wellington Saints of New ZealandSaturday.
“It felt like a scrimmage to me. We’re a bit upset in the first half with our defensive intensity. It didn’t feel like an international game. But we shook it up in the third quarter,” said Gilas coach Tab Baldwin of their easy win over the Texters.
“We’ll be stiffened up (by New Zealand). They want to win the championship and that’s good for us. Hopefully, we play better,” said Baldwin of their rematch with the Saints.
Jayson Castro and Dondon Hontiveros delivered in crunch time as the Nationals barely overcame the Kiwis, 92-88, in overtime in the Jones Cup.
“That’s the kind of test we want. They’re big and they will be like a simulation of a China game. We have to improve our overall intensity, but I feel we will,” Baldwin said.
The Kiwis primed themselves up for the Filipinos on a 108-80 clobbering of Chinese Taipei.
Reunited with Gilas after missing the Jones Cup, Blatche struggled with his shooting and seemed to huff and puff towards the end of the contest.
“Andray didn’t hit his outside shots but it’s coming. That’s normal as he’s been away for some time. It will come back to him easily. He needs time,” said the Gilas coach.
“His transition game is not yet there. But one thing you don’t see in Andray is his defensive intelligence. That was there tonight,” he added.
Blatche made only four of 14 field-goal tries and added five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block against one turnover and two fouls in 25 minutes of play. (SB)
Wellington 108 – Ruscoe 25, Turner 25, Davis 18, Watkins 14, Edwards 13, Braswell 8, Newton 3, Ekenasio 2, Bloxham 0, Mills 0.
Chinese Taipei 80 – Liu 13, Tien 11, Tsai 11, Lu 9, Davis 8, Wu 7, Chen SH 7, Chen SC 5, Hung 5, Chen SN 4, Lin 0.
Quarterscores: 31-24, 45-42, 76-60, 108-80
Gilas Pilipinas 93 – Romeo 22, Castro 14, Blatche 12, De Ocampo 12, Abueva 8, Intal 7, Taulava 6, Thoss 6, Ganuelas 4, Pingris 2, Hontiveros 0, Norwood 0.
Talk n Text 77 – Fonacier 20, Tautuaa 16, Rodriguez 12, Seigle 8, Rosario 5, Sumalinog 5, Reyes R. 3, Miranda 2, Carey 2, Reyes JA 2, Labagala 2, Espiritu 0.
Quarterscores: 23-22, 45-40, 69-52, 93-77