Home PHL News Gilas Philippines Dominates Hong Kong in FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers Opener

Gilas Philippines Dominates Hong Kong in FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers Opener

TSUEN WAN (Hong Kong, China) – The Philippine national basketball team, known as Gilas, showcased their prowess in a resounding victory against Hong Kong, securing a commanding 94-64 win in their opening match of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers. The game, held on Thursday night at Tsuen Wan Stadium, delighted the Filipino fans in attendance, who turned the venue into a virtual home court for their beloved team.

Gilas seized control of the game in the third quarter, propelled by their suffocating defense that left Hong Kong struggling to find answers. The Filipino players’ dominant performance brought smiles to the faces of their compatriots, who passionately supported their team throughout the match.

Head coach Tim Cone was undoubtedly pleased with the triumph, considering it a triumphant start to his long-term vision for the program. Cone’s mentorship has set the stage for the team’s success, and this victory was a testament to the progress made under his guidance.

Among the standout performers of the night was Justin Brownlee, who quickly found his rhythm after a prolonged absence from the court. Brownlee contributed 16 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in just 27 minutes of play. However, the brightest star of the game was Kai Sotto, who delivered an impressive double-double performance with 13 points and 15 rebounds, along with 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block.

Sotto and Brownlee boasted the highest efficiency ratings for the Philippine team, with 26 and 25, respectively. Their outstanding contributions played a significant role in the team’s dominant victory, as Gilas shot an impressive 46.8 percent from the field.

Kevin Quiambao also made a notable impact with 15 points, while Jamie Malonzo added 11 points to the team’s total. With this win, Gilas claimed an early lead in Group B of the qualifiers, establishing a promising start to their campaign (1-0).

The turning point of the game came when the Philippines held a narrow four-point lead in the early stages of the third quarter. Brownlee’s three-pointer ignited a 10-2 run, pushing Gilas to a comfortable 53-41 advantage with 5:32 remaining. Although Hong Kong managed to reduce the deficit to eight points, they failed to mount a serious comeback. Dwight Ramos played a crucial role in extending Gilas’ lead to 71-46 by the end of the third quarter, ensuring the game would never be in doubt. Cone’s team remained aggressive on both ends of the court, maintaining their dominance until the final buzzer.

The statistics showcased Gilas’ superiority, with an impressive 33 assists and a commanding 56-32 advantage in rebounding.

Reflecting on the game, Coach Tim Cone commended the Hong Kong team for their strong performance in the first half, surprising Gilas with their shooting ability and offensive prowess. However, Cone acknowledged his team’s improvement in the second half, attributing it to better defense and an overall relaxed approach. The energized crowd played a significant role in boosting the team’s momentum.

Kevin Quiambao, one of the key contributors for the Philippines, expressed his readiness and highlighted the team’s ability to adjust during the game. He emphasized the importance of every possession, and his decisive shot in the fourth quarter helped secure the victory.

On the other side, Hong Kong’s Head Coach, Wing Leung Chiu, praised his team’s performance in the first half, commending their offensive and defensive rhythm. However, he acknowledged the struggles faced in the second half and the team’s difficulty in adjusting to Gilas’ countermeasures.

Despite the loss, Chiu expressed pride in his team’s efforts, recognizing the strength of the Philippine squad. He emphasized the positive aspects of the game and the momentum gained, while acknowledging the need for improvement in certain areas.

With this convincing win, Gilas has set the tone for their FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers campaign, instilling confidence in their fans and supporters. As the tournament progresses, all eyes will be on the Philippine national basketball team, eager to witness their continued success and the realization of their long-term plans under Coach Tim Cone’s mentorship. (R. Canete)

video credit: The Scoreboard Channel