Gilas Pilipinas absorbed a 46-point blowout to New Zealand, 106-60, in the Fiba World Cup 2023 Asian qualifiers on Thursday at Eventfinda Stadium in Auckland.
The Tall Blacks pounced on the undermanned Philippine men’s basketball sweep to complete a four-game sweep of Group A.
Dion Prewster led the balanced attack of New Zealand with 15 points, while Finn Delany delivered 14 points and seven rebounds as they dominated the Filipinos right from the get-go and showed no mercy until the final buzzer.
“Very tough night for this young team. We came across a Tall Blacks team that is playing with high intensity and very good execution,” said Gilas coach Nenad Vucinic shortly after the game. “We struggled to contain them in that part of the fame with the physicality and the intensity and the speed. And we struggled offensively to get things going.”
Jordan Ngatai and Ethan Rusbatch were also instrumental with 12 points each. Corey Webster had 11 points, five assists, and three rebounds, as Shea Illi added 11 markers, including two three-pointers.
Carl Tamayo was the lone bright spot for Gilas with 16 points and five rebounds, scoring nine in the first half.
However, the University of the Philippines star hurt his ankle with 7:50 remaining in the game and was not able to return.
Rhenz Abando had 11 points in 16 minutes of play as the national team shot poorly from the field 21-of-62 and only made four three-pointers out of its 26 attempts. The Filipinos played with 11 men after naturalized center Ange Kouame suffered a partial ACL tear weeks before the third window.
Gilas Pilipinas’ closest deficit to the Tall Blacks was in the opening quarter, 11-9, off William Navarro’s lay-up before the home team unleashed a 10-0 run capped by Shea Illi’s triple to build a 21-9 spread with a minute to go in the first frame.
The Tall Blacks started to pull away in the second quarter with a 12-0 run for a 35-15 lead before stretching their advantage to 26, 47-21, entering the break. They showed no mercy in the second half, tallying the biggest lead at 46 points off Flynn Cameron’s layup in the final 1:41.
The Philippines, which gave up 19 turnovers, dropped to 1-2 and will try to bounce back in its home game against India on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
New Zealand, Philippines, and India are all through to the next round in November after South Korea got disqualified.
Gilas mainstays Kiefer Ravena and Dwight Ramos, who are playing in Japan B.League, had a quiet night with six points each, combining for 5-of-21 shooting. Ramos, though, had nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
NEW ZEALAND 106 — Prewster 15, Delany 14, Ngatai 12, Rusbatch 12, Webster 11, Ili 10, Vodanovich 8, Britt 7, Cameron 6, Smith-Milner 5, Timmins 4, Harris 2.
PHILIPPINES 60 — Tamayo 16, Abando 11, Lopez 8, Ramos 6, Ravena 6, Quiambao 4, Belangel 3, Chiu 2, Navarro 2, Abarrientos 2, Ildefonso 0.
Quarters: 23-13, 47-21, 73-43, 106-60.