FOSHAN, China – Gilas Pilipinas got dealt with a reality check as it opened its FIBA World Cup 2019 campaign with a 108-62 blowout loss to Italy at the GBA International Sports and Cultural Center here on Saturday, August 31.
The Filipinos failed to score in double figures after the maiden period, 8-37, and already looked gassed out by halftime with the Italians enjoying a comfortable 62-24 advantage – a lead that swelled to as large as 53 points.
Italy put on a clinic from long distance as it sunk 15 three-pointers – 11 in the first two quarters alone – while the Philippines drained only 3 of its 23 attempts from downtown.
Andray Blatche paced the Filipinos with 15 points and 10 rebounds, CJ Perez chalked up another 15 points, while June Mar Fajardo had 9 points and 6 rebounds.
Robert Bolick finished with 6 points and Kiefer Ravena added 5 points in the defeat.
"Their guards could guard our bigs and their bigs could guard our guards. It's just really a dead end for us especially if you're not making your three-point shots," said Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao.
"They have size in the guard position which we do not have. They have quickness with their bigs which we do not have. So it's really important in the international game for you to have that size and quickness and combine them."
The Filipinos kept it close early trailing only 4-9 until the Azurri unloaded a back-breaking 19-0 run – highlighted by 4 triples from Danilo Gallinari, Daniel Hackett, and Luigi Datome – to seize full control.
Datome powered Italy with 17 points off a perfect 3-of-3 clip from three-point range and Amedeo Della Valle also scored 17, doing most of his damage in the second second half.
NBA players Gallinari had 16 points spiked by 4 treys and Marco Belinelli chipped in 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Needing at least two wins to become one of the two teams from Group D that will reach the second round, the Philippines must pull off a massive upset over Serbia on Monday, September 2, at the same venue.
Serbia – which cruised to a 46-point win over Angola earlier – and Italy both are a victory away from advancing.
Italy 108 – Datome 17, Della Valle 17, Gallinari 16, Belinelli 9, Tessitori 9, Biligha 8, Brooks 8, Filloy 7, Hackett 7, Gentile 6, Abass 2, Vitali 2.
Philippines 62 – Blatche 15, Perez 15, Fajardo 9, Bolick 6, Ravena 5, Rosario 2, Aguilar 2, Almazan 2, Barroca 2, Pogoy 2, Lee 2, Norwood 0.
Quarters: 37-8, 62-24, 85-39, 108-62.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.