Gilas Pilipinas recovered from an eyesore performance in the first half to beat Indonesia, 76-51, Friday, June 18 to stay unbeaten in Group A of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Pampanga.
The national cagers led for most of the match but only picked up steam in the third quarter after the first two periods were marred by lackluster offense and a few defensive breakdowns.
Versatile big man Justine Baltazar anchored the pullaway with two triples in the third before Gilas padded the margin in the fourth with Carl Tamayo knocking down two rainbow shots and LeBron Lopez displaying unlimited energy on both ends.
But not even the final score and a 5-0 record could satisfy coach Tab Baldwin after the game, especially with Gilas set for another face-off with South Korea on Sunday.
“We looked a little bit like what I thought we might look like early in this campaign,” said Baldwin. “We didn’t settle down, we tried to push the tempo and I think that we’re not yet ready to be an up-tempo team and then to flow into some halfcourt cohesion.
“When I talked to the team after the game, the one word that kept coming to my head in the first half was discipline. We really lacked self-discipline and we lacked discipline of the culture that were working very hard to establish.
“And without that, I think we’re pretty ordinary and we don’t want to be ordinary. We want to be elite, we want to deserve to be an international basketball team that people will respect.”
Gilas led 30-22 at the half after an up-and-down showing marred by a 27.9 percent clip.
Though it held Indonesia to 29 percent shooting in the first two quarters, it didn’t help that Gilas was also opening the door for the Asia Cup host to complete a rally from an early 15-4 deficit.
But Baltazar’s two triples during the earlier part of a 13-0 run that enabled Gilas to turn a 35-31 lead into 48-31 that ended with a follow-up by Lopez with 2:39 to go in the period.
Lopez was active on both ends the rest of the way while Tamayo gave Gilas its first lead of at 20 points when two consecutive triples made it 59-38 with 8:08 to go in the game.
“I think at halftime we discussed a few things and we came out of halftime with a different kind of attitude towards one another and towards what we’re been working for and we played much better,” said Baldwin.
“But I think we need to be able to blend the two. We need to be able to be a team that can play with tempo but also with discipline, and we certainly aren’t there yet. But it’s very early campaign for these young basketball players so it’s a great learning experience for us. We will improve because of that lack of first half performance,” added Baldwin.
Baltazar had 11 points and nine rebounds while Dwight Ramos had an all-around performance in his role as a starting point guard with 10 points, 12 rebounds and three steals.
Ange Kouame added 11 points and five rebounds, RJ Abarrientos had nine points and six assists while Lopez finished with eight points and five rebounds in almost 10 minutes.
Naturalized player Lester Prosper produced 22 points and eight rebounds but Indonesia fell to 1-4 for third place in the group.
PHILIPPINES 76 — Baltazar 11, Kouame 11, Ramos 10, Abarrientos 9, Lopez 8, Sotto 7, Tamayo 6, De Liano 4, Chiu 4, Heading 3, Belangel 3, Go 0.
INDONESIA 51 — Prosper 22, Prastawa 8, Grahita 8, Agassi 6, Wisnu 4, Kokodiputra 3, Noor 0, Kosasih 0, Saputra 0, Sitorus 0, Teja 0.
Quarters: 15-11, 30-22, 51-36, 76-51.