Gilas opens 2023 SEAG men’s basketball campaign with a thrashing win over Malaysia

Justin Brownlee drives to the basket against Malaysia (PSC-POC media pool via Rappler)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team began its 2023 Southeast Asian Games redemption tour with a crushing win over Malaysia, 94-49, last May 9, 2023, held at the Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Gilas immediately imposed their will as early as the first 10 minutes of the game and impressively protected their huge lead for three straight quarters.

Current NLEX Road Warriors starting center Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser led the Gilas charge with 15 points alongside five rebounds and a block who started to erupt midway through the second quarter.

The brother of PBA veteran and defensive specialist Matt provided the much-needed energy that the national team needed quickly after checking in the first quarter.

Malaysia was able to pull off some early scare for the heavily-favored PHL team after keeping it close in the first quarter when they only trailed by three points, 11-8, with 5:55 remaining in the opening frame.

However, after the second unit of Gilas started to operate on both ends of the floor, the lead suddenly swelled to double digits, 33-12.

It was then all Gilas in the last three quarters as the more experienced and stacked squad ran over Malaysia and only held them to 37 points during the remainder of the game.

Justin Brownlee played a different role for Gilas against Malaysia and completed his all-around effort with 11 points, four rebounds, two steals, and a block.

Meanwhile, UAAP collegiate standout Michael Phillips, an energy guy from the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers, also impressed in his national team debut and contributed a game-high 15-rebound performance including nine points, five steals, and two blocks.

After the walk in the park against Malaysia, the Filipino hoopers are currently bracing for a tough challenge against the revamped Cambodian national team today at 6 PM and will look to start their SEAG campaign with a 2-0 record.