Gilas Men end first round of World Cup qualifiers with decisive win over India
Published on July 3, 2022

Gilas Pilipinas Men defended home court with a decisive 79-63 win over India to finish the first round of the FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers on a strong note Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. 

Dwight Ramos set the pace with 21 points alongside five rebounds, two assists, and four steals. Kiefer Ravena added 12 points and four dimes while William Navarro chipped in with 11 points. 

It was a rousing bounce-back performance for Gilas in front of Filipino fans despite being undermanned with Dave Ildefonso and Ange Kouame out with injuries.

Carl Tamayo brushed off his ankle injury with nine points, nine boards, and three steals. All 10 players scored in a collective effort for the Philippines. 

“It was an important game for us. We needed a win. We had a tough trip to New Zealand,” said Gilas coach Nenad Vucivic. “We needed to bounce back and I would like to congratulate the players on getting a good win.”

Ramos, who scored only six points in the loss to New Zealand, was aggressive on both ends as he defended India’s leading scorer Sahaji Pratap Singh Sekhon. He scored 11 points in the opening salvo alone.

“I think our defense in the first half was very good. We created a lot of turnovers,” said Vucenic.

Gilas led by as many as 24 points and overcame a fourth-quarter push from their opponent.

“We are happy with the result but we know that we can and will have to play a lot better at the Asia Cup,” said Vucenic. 

Muin Bek Hafeez delivered 13 points for India while Arvind Kumar Muthu Krishnan and Sekhon had 12 points apiece.

The Philippines will move on to the second round of the group phase with a 2-2 record. Gilas will be in Group E alongside New Zealand, India, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. 

Before the resumption of the World Cup qualifiers, however, Gilas Men will focus on the upcoming 2022 FIBA Asia Cup in Indonesia on July 12 to 24.