Gilas Pilipinas rolls past Malaysia in SEA Games 2023 opener


Justin Brownlee Gilas 2023 SEA Games

The Philippines’ Justin Brownlee at the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia. Photo from SBP

MANILA, Philippines-The Philippines picked Malaysia apart with methodical precision on Tuesday afternoon to get its SEA Games redemption bid off on the right foot.

Gilas Pilipinas used a balanced attack and a spectacular outing on the defensive end to clobber the enemy, 94-49, at Morodok Techo Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser had 13 points to lead all of the Filipinos. Youngster Michael Phillips, meanwhile, put up nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds, five steals, and two blocks in his debut with the national team.

Justin Brownlee, the naturalized cager expected to carry much of the load in this tournament, didn’t have to score that much with five other Filipinos finishing with at least eight points. He chipped at 11 in the effort.

All but defensive whiz and team captain Chris Ross scored in the blowout.

Yi Hou Wong led Malaysia with 15 points off the bench, while Xian Fu Ooi and skipper Chun Hong Tin both finished with seven.

Up next for the Philippines is Cambodia, which is reportedly fielding a bevy of naturalized players in the contest. They battle at the same venue on Thursday, 6 pm (Manila time).

The hosts gave a glimpse of how capable its naturalized players are during the 3×3 contest, leaning heavily on Darrin Dorsey, Brandon Peterson and Sayeed Pridgett in the gold medal game against the Philippines. That American trio is expected to play in the 5-on-5 showcase.

Gilas’ triumph on Tuesday eclipsed his 87-44 blowout of Malaysia in the last SEA Games by three more points.

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