19 February, 2024
25 February, 2025
32 Justin Brownlee (PHI), 11 Kai Zachary Sotto (PHI), 33 Carl Vincent Tamayo (PHI), 3 Chris Newsome (PHI)
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Kai Sotto, Gilas subdue Hong Kong in dominant debut

TSUEN WAN (Hong Kong, China) - The Philippines made sure to not disappoint their compatriots in attendance by putting on a masterful showing against Hong Kong, 94-64, in their FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers opener, Thursday night at the Tsuen Wan Stadium.



Gilas broke the game wide-open in the third quarter behind their stifling defense, leaving the opposition in search of answers that never came as they left huge smiles on the face of Filipino fans that trooped to the venue that made it feel like a home game for the visiting side.

Surely happy with the victory as well is head coach Tim Cone, as the win marked a triumphant start to the long-term plans he envisions for the program under his mentorship.

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Game heroes: Justin Brownlee needed little time to get his rhythm back after a long layoff and finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in 27 minutes.

But the night's biggest star was Kai Sotto, who came through with a strong double-double outing of 13 points and 15 rebounds, on top of 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block.

Sotto and Brownlee tallied the Filipino dribblers' highest efficiency ratings with 26 and 25, respectively, in the dominant win that saw the squad shoot 46.8-percent.

Kevin Quiambao,  meanwhile, made 15 points, while Jamie Malonzo supplied 11 points for Gilas, who gained the early lead in Group B following the win (1-0).

Turning point: The Philippines were clinging on to a four-point early in the third until Brownlee made a triple to spark a 10-2 run towards a 53-41 lead with 5:32 to go.

Their foes still got to within eight but it proved to be the closest they'd get. Dwight Ramos helped facilitate an assault that gave Gilas a 71-46 lead heading into the final period, and the game would never be in doubt as Cone's wards remained aggressive on both ends.

Stats don't lie: Gilas racked up 33 assists and dominated the boards, 56-32.

They said: "Hong Kong China played a great first half and shocked us. We didn’t think that they would play as well as they did. No. 6 Leung and Xu and no. 10 yang really surprised us with their ability to shoot the ball and Yang to be able to get to the rim. We were quite surprised. I thought we came out a little tentative but in the second half I thought we were kinda relaxed a little bit, played better, defended better, and got on a little bit of a run. The crowd helped us gain some momentum." - Tim Cone, Head Coach, Philippines

"For me I just stayed ready all through out the game. The first half was kinda shaky for us. But in the second half, we adjusted. Coach always says that every possession counts so in the fourth quarter, I just took a shot I practice. Good thing we got the win." - Kevin Quiambao, Philippines

"n the first half, our team played in a good rhythm, we weren’t rushing especially offensively. The coaching staff were very happy with how we played in the first half offensively and defensively. In the second half, you could see in the third quarter we struggled a little bit, the other team did a good job adjusting. We struggled to adjust when they adjusted." - Wing Leung Chiu, Head Coach, Hong Kong, China

"I’m proud of our team. That’s a tough team to play. I know that Gilas guys very well personally from my professional experience. That first half, we couldn’t ask for anything more. Our guys are playing hard, you could see our guys playing our style of basketball. But like Coach said, second half, we ran out of a little steam. We could’ve adjusted a little better. There are some things that we have to work on from this game to get ready. But there are a lot of bright spots in this game and there’s a lot of momentum for us to keep building and keep getting better." - Duncan Reid, Hong Kong, China