By Waylon Galvez
Already the region’s best, the E-Gilas Pilipinas came through with another impressive win against Indonesia 71-35 in the last and final Game 5 of the FIBA Esports Open 2020 Sunday night.
Rial Polog Jr. collected 25 points to lead the national team for the third straight match, while Aljon “Shintarou” Cruzin had 15 points as the Philippines completed a 5-0 sweep on Indonesia.
Polog, a prospect for NBA2k Draft, averaged 29 points in the last two games, including a 30-point explosion in a 66-34 victory in Game 3 that crowned the Philippines as the region’s best.
Aside from Polog and Cruzin, other members of the national team are Philippe “Izzo” Alcaraz Herrero IV, Custer “Aguila” Galas, Clark Banzon, Rocky “Rak” Braña and Al “Alt” Timajo in this inaugural exhibition meet produced by the brand new FIBA Esports Studio in Riga, Latvia.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio commended the national team, dubbed the “Dream Team,” for its achievement in various NBA2K events abroad.
“Thank you Team Pilipinas. SBP is very proud of you all,” said Panlilio in a statement posted on the federation’s Facebook page.
“Keep on playing and improving for future FIBA Esports tournaments. Remain humble but hungry.”
Panlilio also thanked FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis, FIBA Central Board member and SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, esports association head Jane Jimenez-Basas, SBP operations chief Butch Antonio and FIBA Oceania executive David Crocker.
From 2016 to last year, the 7-man squad has ruled the NBA2K Asia Pacific tournament.
Aside from the Philippines and Indonesia, also competing in the event are Italy, Australia, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine.
The games were livestreamed on FIBA’s Facebook, Twitch and YouTube channels with live commentary.
The first ever Esports Open, in collaboration with the NBA 2k, is part of the federation’s initiatives with the goal of enlarging the FIBA family, and comes at a time as actual competitions are still barred in various countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.