Philippines
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Brownlee, Kouame form one-two punch as Gilas Pilipinas routs Bahrain in Asian Games

Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame show the way as Gilas Pilipinas opens in style the country's bid of winning an Asian Games basketball medal for the first time in 25 years

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas bucked a tentative start and cruised to an 89-61 rout of Bahrain for a rousing start in the Asian Games at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium in China on Tuesday, September 26. 

Justin Brownlee turned in a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double, while three others scored in double figures as the Philippines opened in style its bid of winning an Asian Games basketball medal for the first time since 1998.

Up by just two possessions after the opening quarter, 22-18, the Filipinos outscored the Bahrainis, 29-15, in the second period to erect a 51-33 lead at halftime and cruised the rest of the way.

Ange Kouame dominated in the second frame, where he scattered 10 of his 15 points.

CJ Perez also finished with 15 points on top of 2 steals, while Calvin Oftana churned out 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists for the Philippines, which grabbed an early lead in Pool C with a 1-0 card.

Perez caught fire early in the second quarter, firing 7 straight points for a 29-20 lead, before Kouame took over as the naturalized big man scored 10 points in a 22-8 run that gave the Filipinos a commanding 51-30 advantage.

That lead grew to as big as 34 points, 89-55, off Kevin Alas’ lone basket of the game.

Perez and Alas, together with Arvin Tolentino, Chris Ross, and Marcio Lassiter, played as replacements for Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Roger Pogoy, Mo Tautuaa, and Jason Perkins as organizers turned down the country’s appeal to change its lineup.

Lassiter put up 8 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds, while June Mar Fajardo chimed in 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Maitham Almoathin and Mustafa Rashed showed the way for Bahrain with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Former PBA Best Import Wayne Chism, who suited up for Rain or Shine, NLEX, and Magnolia, tallied 5 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals in the losing effort.

Gilas Pilipinas will go up against another PBA Best Import as it tangles with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Jordan on Thursday, September 28, at the same venue.

The Scores

Philippines 89 – Brownlee 20, Perez 15, Kouame 15, Oftana 10, Fajardo 8, Lassiter 8, Thompson 5, Newsome 3, Alas 2, Aguilar 2, Ross 1, Tolentino 0.

Bahrain 61 – Almoathin 14, M. Rashed 13 , A. Rashed 12, Buallay 8, Melad 6, Chism 5, Hamoda 3, Al Haddad 0, Kadhem 0, Hasan 0, Al Hassan 0.

Quarters: 22-18, 51-33, 72-47, 89-61.

– Rappler.com