HANGZHOU, China — Gilas Pilipinas turned the match into a light workout as it pulled off a dominant 80-41 victory over Qatar in the classification match of the men’s basketball competition of the 19th Asian Games on Monday at the Zijingang Gymnasium inside the Zhejiang University here.
June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez and Calvin Oftana presided over the offense for Gilas coach Tim Cone, who had the luxury of giving naturalized player Justin Brownlee and other key players limited minutes in preparation for their quarterfinal encounter against Iran on Tuesday.
A victory over the younger, deadlier Iran will give the Filipinos a spot in the semifinals and assured them of matching their bronze medal finish in the Bangkok edition of the Asian Games in 1998.
Brownlee, who has yet to fully recover from his foot surgery, was limited to just 8:43 of playing time but still contributed offensively with nine points on 4-of-5 field goal shooting with five rebounds and an assist.
“All I wanna say is that we had a script in winning this basketball game,” Cone said.
“We followed that script very well. We wanted to get off quick and get the lead so we could bring Justin out of the game early and have him ready for tomorrow against Iran. That’s one of our main goals and we were able to do that.”
With Brownlee getting ample time to rest in preparation for their crucial battle against the Iranians at 12 noon on Tuesday — or less than 24 hours since dominating Qatar — Fajardo, Perez and Oftana stepped up offensively for Gilas Pilipinas, which erected a 33-14 lead in the first quarter to gain control the rest of the way.
Fajardo and Perez delivered 12 points apiece while Oftana chipped in 11 markers on a sizzling 3-of-4 from the three-point area.
Japeth Aguilar added nine markers and four blocks while Angelo Kouame registered eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Filipinos, who led by as many as 43 points, 73-30.
“We also got rest for Scottie (Thompson) and June Mar and some of the guys who are playing heavier minutes. And we got time for Kevin (Alas) and Arvin (Tolentino) to go out and Chris (Ross) and Marcio (Lassiter) to go out and get some time and some minutes.”
He added that they adjusted their offense to create more open looks.