Philippines crushes Singapore for 2nd win
by rick olivares
The Philippines ran into a Singapore team with a little more fight in them but the result was never in doubt as the home side ran away once more to a 113-66 victory in the second day of the Seaba championships at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, and Roger Pogoy set the tone with some razzle dazzle and then some.
Blatche hit a fallaway jumper – incredible for a man of his size – stole the ball from a player half his size then dribbled right through traffic to lay-in a ball that looked like a volleyball in his huge palms. Pogoy, a rookie in the Philippine pro league no less, showed the steel verve of a veteran and hit a variety of shots from close range, a lay-up, and a three to start the rout.
If Blatche had panache, his Twin Tower partner, Fajardo, was Mr. Fundamental as he twisted Singaporean defenders into pretzels on simple putbacks, up and unders, and tip-ins.
The Singaporeans however, did not go meekly into the good Manila night. Unlike the Philippines’ opening night victim Myanmar who chose to jack up three-pointers from tip-off (10 in the first period alone) to off-set the home team’s height advantage, the Singaporeans were more disciplined and they ran their sets. Shooting when open (four three-point attempts in the opening frame) and attacking where possible. Although they managed two points less than Myanmar in the first period, it was obvious that head coach Franco Arsego’s squad was unfazed.
Their willingness to engage inside saw them troop to the free throw line 20 times; six more than the Philippines. Yet the Filipinos negated that one advantage because they hit 93% of their 14 attempts while the Singaporeans hit the bottom of the net 70% of the time.
If Philippine forward Calvin Abueva was “nice” to the Burmese, against Singapore, he was his ornery self – attacking like a bowling ball to ten pins. Abueva finished with 16 points. Blatche and Allein Maliksi added 14 points each while Matthew Wright had 13 and Japeth Aguilar, 11.
Larry Liew led Arsego’s team in scoring with 14 while Wong Wei Long netted 12. Leon Kwek and team captain Hanbin Ng chipped in 11 each, and center Delvin Goh finished with 10 points.
“That’s a very very good basketball team,” marveled Arsego post-match. “I believe that might even be an understatement. They have size, athleticism, talent, speed, shooting, depth, smarts… what else can we add to the checklist?”
The Philippines climbed to 2-0 to join other unbeaten sides Thailand and Indonesia. Singapore fell to 0-2.