Larry Fonacier fires a jumper in their game against Saudi Arabia. The Philippines defeated Saudi, 78-66. | Photo by Paul Ryan Tan
By Karl Cedrick G. Basco

It may not be a convincing victory but a win is a win.

Gilas Pilipinas found their rhythm going in the second half to trounce Saudi Arabia, 78-66, in their opening game in 2013 FIBA Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena yesterday evening.

L.A. Tenorio and Larry Fonacier paced the Philippine-based squad banking 12 points apiece while naturalized player Marcus Douthit added 10 markers with 11 rebounds.

Gilas started the pay-off period with a 9-4 salvo to establish the biggest lead in the game at 16, 66-50, highlighted by a three-pointer of Fonacier but Saudi Arabia unleashed three treys to cut its deficit into seven, 59-66.

Saudi Arabia tried to keep the Philippines at striking distance as they cut the lead into three early in the third period with a bucket of freethrow shots, 46-43, before Marc Pingris and Tenorio led an 11-3 run to end the quarter at 57-46.

Ayman Almuwallad spearheaded the Middle-East contingent tallying game-high 18 markers while Mohammed Almarwani finished with 12 points.

Meanwhile, Korea started their campaign on a winning note too as they pulled an upset against the powerhouse China, 63-59, while Chinese Taipei regained composure down the stretch to defeat Jordan, 91-87.

 The Philippines will face Jordan today, Friday, 8:30 PM at the same venue.


Philippines 78 - Tenorio 12, Fonacier 12, Douthit 10, De Ocampo 9, Pingris 8, Chan 6, Castro 6, Alapag 5, David 4, Norwood 2, Fajardo 2, Aguilar 2
Saudi Arabia 66 - A. Almuwallad 18, Mo. Almarwani 12, Alhwsawi 11, Abo Jalas 9, Ma. Almarwani 8, M. Almuwallad 4, Belal 2, Kabe 2, Alsager 0

Quarter scoring: 14-16, 35-28, 57-46, 78-66

Other game results, August 1, 2013:

Bahrain def. India, 82-80 (OT); Korea def. China, 63-59; Qatar def. Japan, 75-74; Chinese Taipei def. Jordan, 91-87; Iran def. Malaysia 115-25; Kazakhstan def. Thailand 81-67

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