Gilas Pilipinas Men put on a scorching shooting display to dominate Lebanon, 107-96, in the sixth window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers on Friday at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Justin Brownlee starred in his first game with the Philippines, scoring 17 points on an efficient 7-of-14 shooting clip. He also had four rebounds, five assists, and two steals in under 30 minutes of action. He made his presence felt early in the contest by knocking down back-to-back triples as his first baskets with the national team.
“It’s very special. Coming to play here for Gilas has been so much joy. I’m just very blessed and lucky to be part of the team, part of the naturalization and everything,” Brownlee said about his Gilas debut.
“It’s just an honor to put the Philippines on my chest and play for the flag. The Philippines shows so much love to me – I just want to do my best and do whatever I can to give some of that back.”
Led by Brownlee, Gilas kept its foot on the gas pedal and continued to wax hot from the perimeter. As a team, the Philippines shot a blistering 17-of-36 from deep, tying the record for most 3-pointers made in a single World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers game.
Jamie Malonzo, likewise, had a strong outing. The high-leaping forward put his athleticism on display on his way to 15 points off the bench.
It was also a stirring debut for the young Mason Amos. He showed no nerves in his first game with the seniors team, knocking down huge shots from downtown in the second half. It was a perfect night for the 18-year-old as he scored 13 points after making all of his five shots, including three triples.
Amir Saoud fired 27 points for the Cedars who played without FIBA Asia Cup MVP Wael Arakji.
Gilas Men avenged their previous loss to Lebanon in Beirut in August and improved to a 6-3 record in Group E. The Philippines will take on Jordan next on Monday, February 27 at 6:00 PM at the Philippine Arena.