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31st SEA Games

Cagers flaunt might

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Courtesy of Rio Deluvio

Gilas Pilipinas cruised past Singapore, 88-37, to claim its third straight win in the men’s basketball event of the 31st Southeast Asian Games Wednesday at the Thanh Tri Gymnasium in Hanoi.

After a shaky performance against Thailand in the opener, Gilas uncorked an overwhelming performance to claim the top spot with a perfect 3-0 card in this seven-team tournament.

Roger Pogoy led all scorers with 19 points and two rebounds in only 21 minutes of action while youngster Francis Lopez displayed another high-flying performance with 18 markers and two steals.

Jaydee Tungcab added 11 points and four steals and Matthew Wright also had 11 markers and two assists for the Filipinos, who crushed Cambodia by 68 points, 100-32, late Tuesday.

The Philippines will shoot for its fourth win when it battles host Vietnam on Thursday at 8 p.m.

Off to a fiery 15-1 start, the Filipinos quickly turned their engines on as Pogoy hit 14 points to give the Nationals a huge 43-17 advantage at the half.

Gilas revved up their swarming defense in the succeeding quarters before cadet Tungcab nailed a triple to stretch the lead at 41, 71-30, 7:35 to play, and never looked back.

The Filipinos were simply too much from both ends of the floor, tallying 17 steals while forcing Singapore to commit 23 turnovers.

Big man Lavin Raj finished with eight points as no Singaporean scored in double digits.

Gilas Women squad also enjoyed similar fate as it registered a lopsided 97-81 victory over Thailand for its second straight win.

Veteran gunner Afril Bernardino was impressive, churning 20 points and 16 rebounds en route to a strong 16-point round over the 2019 silver medalists.

Stefanie Berberabe and Katrina Guytingco added 10 points apiece to provide extra fire on the Filipina side which outrebounded the Thais while shooting 43 percent from the clip.

The Filipinas will attempt to make it three in a row when they battle host Vietnam today at 5 p.m.

“I told my players that we don’t have to change anything, but we are going to be ready with Vietnam tomorrow. We will prepare harder,” Gilas tactician Pat Aquino said.

“I know it’s going to be difficult against the host country. But we will do our very best.”

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