Asian Games: How did the Brownlee-led Gilas Pilipinas beat Bahrain?

Gilas Pilipinas beats Bahrain in Asian Games

Gilas Pilipinas had a slight shakeup prior to the start of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. Despite the previous turmoil of Filipino stars like Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva not being allowed to participate in the tournament, Gilas Pilipinas came through and opened the Asiad opening with a blowout win over Bahrain, 89-61. With an almost all-new Gilas cast, one that is different from what they had during the FIBA World Cup, this squad proved that the Philippines is still one of the best basketball nations in Asia. But, how did the Justin Brownlee-led Gilas Pilipinas team manage to defeat Bahrain by a landslide?

Justin Brownlee, CJ Perez,  Ange Kouame, and Calvin Oftana performed exceptionally on the international stage

To no one’s surprise, naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Angelo Kouame showed up and made a huge impact against Bahrain. Brownlee posted a nice double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Kouame was unstoppable in the paint with 15 points and 7 boards.

On the other hand, the electrifying guard, CJ Perez, had some moments in the game. The PBA star was everywhere on the court. The surprising player here is Calvin Oftana who played aggressively against Bahrain. Oftana, 27, had a great outing with 10 points and 3 rebounds while shooting 67% from behind the three-point line.

Gilas Pilipinas moved the ball well and played amazing basketball

With a new coach (Tim Cone) and a new crew, Gilas Pilipinas adapted well to the competition. It was amazing to watch how Gilas players passed the ball well and made stellar plays for easy buckets. Mostly, a play ends up in the hands of the team’s bigs like Brownlee, Kouame, and Fajardo who turns them into easy two-points. This is very different from the isolation ball and dribble-drive offense we were used to seeing from Gilas. Moreover, the stat sheet also showed that the Philippines made a total of 24 assists while Bahrain only completed 11.

Aside from the great basketball the Gilas Pilipinas were displaying, they also outplayed Bahrain by a mile. They were more efficient with regard to shooting percentages, both inside and outside the arc. Also, the Philippines held the lead all throughout the game.

Hardcore defense against Bahrain

Bahrain was heavily pressured and was not able to find an answer to the Filipinos‘ tough defense. Former PBA import Wayne Chism was supposed to helm his home country but the American-Bahraini baller was held to only 5 points. Aside from on-ball and off-ball defense, Gilas also outrebounded Bahrain, 52-38. Everyone played extremely hard and showed their heart or “puso” in representing their country.

Gilas Pilipinas beats Bahrain in Asian Games - 1
Screengrab Courtesy of One Sports (via YouTube)

The Philippines are now 1-0 in the group stage and will look to sweep this pool. Gilas will continue their march at the Asiad against Thailand on September 28. Then, the Philippines will go head-to-head against Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Jordan on September 30.

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