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Gilas advance to semis

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PSC JUSTINE Brownlee and Gilas Pilipinas open their SEA Games campaign on a high note following a 94-49 win over Malaysia.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Gilas Pilipinas used the game against Singapore to prepare for their next outing, rolling to a 105-45 win in men’s basketball in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games at the Elephant Hall 2 of the Morodok Techo National Stadium on Sunday.

The Filipinos held their rivals to just a single field goal in the first period — a buzzer-beating three-point shot by Xavier Ng that made the score, 29-5.

Marcio Lassiter capped a short but telling 7-0 run with a corner trey that gave Gilas a 49-17 with 2:13 left before the halftime break.

He led Gilas’ balanced offense with 16 points. CJ Perez contributed 13 while Jerom Lastimosa, Michael Phillips and Justin Brownlee each had 12 markers and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser chipped in 10.

“We did what we wanted to accomplish offensively and defensively,” said Gilas coach Chit Reyes. “We really have to prepare for our next game already and we won’t get any quality practice tomorrow so we used this (game versus Singapore) as a preparatory for our semifinals game.”

Reyes said the big win salvaged their wounded pride.

“Of course, everyone was disappointed after the loss,” Reyes added. “We just kept the players focused on the big picture. We came here to win the gold so we’re focused on that.”

Gilas Pilipinas will now face the winner between defending champion Indonesia and Thailand on Sunday.

In women’s play, Gilas Pilipinas blasted Vietnam, 116-58, to keep its hopes alive of bagging the silver medal.

The Filipinas unloaded 18 three-point shots against the hapless Vietnamese.

They scored 35 points in the first quarter and added 33 in the next to take a commanding 68-34 lead at the half.

“I’m really, really proud of the girls for bouncing back this way,” said Gilas women’s coach Patrick Aquino. “It’s one game you’ll never forget. I hope we can still do it for the rest of the tournament.”

It’s the third win in four games for the Philippines which is just wrapping up its campaign.

Up next are Thailand on Sunday and Malaysia on Monday.

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