Gilas Pilipinas bounces back, crushes India in FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

Dwight Ramos’ efficient shooting night helped Gilas clinch the win over India. (FIBA photo)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team got a much-needed confidence boost after bouncing back against India, 79-63, in the ongoing 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Hounded by a disappointing 46-point loss against New Zealand during their opening game on the road, the Filipino hoopers returned to the Philippines and showed up in front of their kababayans held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

It was all Gilas from the get-go as their much improved defensive game disrupted India’s passing lanes which resulted in easy fast break scores.

Aside from their defensive efficiency, the Gilas squad also displayed a flawless team game and dazzled the crowd with their crisp ball movement.

Gilas seniors Kiefer Ravena and Dwight Ramos led the way for the national team after torching the Indian team with their waxing-hot offense.

Ramos was Gilas’ break starter and got his offense clicking in the first quarter after dropping nine big points in the first 10 minutes of the ball game.

Ravena, the oldest and the player with the most international experience in the pool, finished what Ramos started and spearheaded a second-half rally that helped Gilas pull away with a double-digit lead.

“It was an important game for us. We needed to win. We had a tough trip in New Zealand. The way we got there, it was very difficult to play that game because of the level of the opposition,” said Gilas’ head coach Nenad Vucinic.

Despite the better performance Gilas put up against India, the young core of players slowed down in the second half and were careless several times with their offensive possessions.

Gilas survived a late eruption from India and got outscored in the final canto, 14-19, and managed to deadlock the third quarter with a 20-all tally.

“Second half, we probably shouldn’t have put our foot off the pedal but we are a young team so the oscillations and up and downs are expected. We are happy with the result but we know and we can play a lot better come the Asia Cup,” added coach Vucinic.