As advertised, it was more of a serious tune-up than a mid-season showcase. Both teams treated it like an official game and not just a glorified scrimmage, where they could simply hoist a hundred shots and avoid playing defense as if it had a serious case of Ebola virus. In other words, like every Global Port game.
They were all business, as epitomized by Jared and Ranidel's iwas-sa-ahit looks
The Gilas boys only have a little more than three months to prepare for the FIBA World Cup in Spain, the reason why they were formed in the first place. That’s why they need to make wise use of their time and take the court as much as possible.
Speaking of which, more than seven months has passed since Gilas played an actual game—that was when they bagged the silver in the FIBA-Asia Championship.
In that span, Megan Young was crowned Miss World, a massive earthquake struck Bohol, Typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc, graft and plunder cases were filed against the alleged pork barrel scam protagonists, and Meteor Garden made a comeback. Last Sunday’s All-Star Game was only our first look on the new-look Gilas.
So how did they do? Even though school is on vacation, there’s no such thing as summer break for the squad. We channeled our inner Professor Snape and handed out grades based on the team’s victory over the PBA All-Stars. Consider this an early Gilas Report Card. If you vehemently disagree, you can go to the principal’s office or just simply leave a comment below.
Awkward -looking scenes like this one were more abundant than highlights
If there was one thing the Gilas boys really showcased during the game, it’s their top-notch defense. It looked like it hasn’t waned since the FIBA-Asia Championship.
Holding an opponent below 100 points on a measly 43-percent FG shooting in an All-Star Game? That’s almost unheard of! Like news about Kim Kardashian being a quintessential mother. They displayed excellent individual D, on-point switches/rotations, and yes, even transition defense!
In the first quarter, Chris Ellis thought he had an easy dunk off a put-back (it’s the All-Star Game after all), but Marcus Douthit surprisingly challenged him and went Mutombo-esque. This ain’t no friendly, young fella! We would’ve given Gilas an A+ if not for the middling defense of some of the big men, which allowed Sonny Thoss to manhandle the paint as if he was Dwight Howard.
BALL MOVEMENT: A
Sonny "The Boss" Thoss? More like "The Stiff" here
Considering the All-Star Game is a showcase of individual talents, which usually leads to ball-hogging (also known as Terrence Romeo-ing), excessive dribbling, and shamelessly-gunning-for-MVP moments, Gilas shared the ball pretty well. From the guards to the pivot guys, the rock kept on moving. They tallied 26 assists, compared to the All-Stars' 16. That ten-assist advantage led to at least 20 more points for the national quintet. That’s a valuable cushion in a relatively competitive face-off.
It was beautiful to see the continuous ball movement and pin-point passing, a testament to Gilas’ pass-first mentality. The dishes may not be that spectacular ala Ricky Rubio, but they found their target and gave them easy baskets. They could’ve easily gotten 30-plus dimes if not for their outside shooting, which was as accurate as Jobert Sucaldito’s blind items.