MANILA, Philippines—An uncomfortably close first quarter gave way to a blistering second period for Gilas Pilipinas in their Group A game against Myanmar at Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
The Philippines waxed hot from behind the arc in the second quarter to pull away for a 136-67 victory, giving the defending champions a sweep of their group in the basketball competition of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
"We didn't want to run up the score and embarrass anybody. Obviously, there's a big gap in talent between the two teams," Gilas head coach Tim Cone said.
"We want Myanmar to keep coming back and keep wanting to play and keep wanting to improve their basketball program. We don't want to discourage them, and no one likes to be embarrassed."
Prior to Saturday, Gilas won its past two games against Myanmar by an average of 101 points, back in the 2017 SEABA Championship and the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.
A sluggish start by the Filipinos allowed Myanmar to keep within striking distance in the first quarter, however. They gave up six 3-pointers there and led by just 8 points 32-24 against the regional minnows.
The 24 points scored by Myanmar was the most the visitors have had in a quarter so far in the SEA Games.
"We were taking it too easy, and in that way we're not respecting the game either when we take it too easy," Cone said of their performance in the first frame.
Gilas Pilipinas tightened up on both ends of the floor in the second quarter to take complete control of the contest. Marcio Lassiter and Matthew Wright both waxed hot from behind the arc, with Lassiter nailing three straight 3-pointers that pushed the Philippines to a 20-point lead, 50-30.
Vic Manuel and Troy Rosario held down the fort inside the paint, and the Philippines outscored Myanmar 45-12 in the second quarter to put the game away.
"Marcio and Matt got us going, hitting a number of 3s. That kind of picked up our defensive intensity, and then we went from there," Cone said.
So commanding was Gilas' lead that Cone did not need to field June Mar Fajardo and Stanley Pringle in the game.
The Philippines' advantage eventually grew to as big as 72 points, 131-59, with two minutes and 22 seconds left off an LA Tenorio floater.
Wright finished with 29 points on 9-of-17 shooting, while Vic Manuel finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. Lassiter had 15 points in just 17 minutes, and Troy Rosario had 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
The Philippines had 43 assists on 55 field goals, and shot 56.7% from the field while doubling Myanmar's total off the boards, 62-31. Cone and co. also committed just one turnover the whole game.
Myanmar's Aung Myint had 28 points on 12-of-26 shooting, while Chin Ta added 14 markers.
The Philippines completed a 3-0 sweep of Group A and will play Indonesia, the second-ranked team on Group B, in the semifinals.
PHILIPPINES 136 -- Wright 29, Manuel 24, Rosario 16, Lassiter 15, Ravena 15, Aguilar 12, Slaughter 10, Tenorio 9, Standhardinger 6, Ross 0.
MYANMAR 67 -- Myint 28, Ta 14, Justin 6, Aung 5, Tun Tun 4, Sar 4, La Ja 4, Zaw 2, Zaya 0, Wine 0, Oo 0, Htut 0.
Quarters: 32-24, 77-36, 104-49, 136-67.
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