The Tall Blacks have dominated an outmatched Gilas Pilipinas team tonight in its first game on home soil in four years, claiming a 106-60 victory at home to extend their winning streak to four games – and 8 wins in their last 9.
In front of a raucous Philippines home crowd – with many fervent Philippines fans in attendance – the Tall Blacks put on a show in the final quarter, extending their final lead to 46 points in this FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier game.
Dion Prewster led New Zealand with 15 points, with Finn Delany registering a solid 15 points & 7 rebounds and Jordan Ngatai, Ethan Rusbatch, Shea Ili and Corey Webster each scoring in double figures.
Carl Vincent Tamayo had 16 points & 5 rebounds for Gilas Pilipinas before leaving the game due to injury, while Rhenz Joseph Abando had 11 and Dwight Ramos had 6 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.
The Tall Blacks shot out to an early 6-0 lead, with Delany (6 points in the quarter) doing the heavy lifting and support from Prewster (4) and Ili (5) – all the while holding the Philippines to only 4 shots on 29%. New Zealand also dominated the boards in the first quarter with 16; 8 of them offensive.
Buckets became harder to come by in the second; Gilas Pilipinas held without a field goal (0-8) for the first five minutes thanks to constant pressure from the Kiwis. The quarter was highlighted by an impressive run from veteran Rusbatch, who sank a three and then followed up with a steal and layup on the following possession.
Half-time saw New Zealand holding a comfortable 47-21 lead thanks to Delany’s 15 points and 9 from Prewster – the Kiwis holding the Philippines team to a mere eight points in the period.
A fired-up Gilas Pilipinas emerged from the break with renewed energy, scoring nine points in the first three minutes until a timely three pointer by Ili halted their momentum. They were able to keep pace with the Tall Blacks throughout the quarter, scoring 22 points – more than they could muster in the first two halves combined – versus 26 for the Kiwis.
But the visitors couldn’t contain the likes of Tom Vodanovich and Corey Webster in the period; the latter scored 6 straight points over a 90-second stretch to deny any hope of a comeback for Coach Nenad’s team.
And things broke open in the fourth for New Zealand as they piled on the points – their 33-point quarter highlighted by back-to-back dunks from Jordan Ngatai, along with Tall Blacks debutante (and birthday boy) Flynn Cameron scoring 6 points in the period.
Despite a much improved second half for the Philippines, they were no match for a powerful Tall Blacks squad – as evidenced in the 106-60 final scoreline.
The post-game stats told a tale of dominance for the Kiwis, with 32 points generated from the Philippines 19 turnovers and 19 fast break points scored against only 2 for the opposition. Although both teams struggled with their outside shooting, the Tall Blacks scored almost half their points in the paint (52, versus 20 for Gilas Filipinas) and registered a generous 51 points off the bench.
The Tall Blacks next World Cup Qualifier game will be held in Auckland on 29 August; details to follow shortly.
New Zealand 106 – Prewster 15 | Delany 14 | Ngatai 12 | Rusbatch 12 | Webster 11 | Ili 10 | Vodanovich 8 | Britt 7 | Cameron 6 | Smith-Milner 5 | Timmins 4 | Harris 2
Philippines 60 – Tamayo 16 | Abando 11 | Lopez 8 | Ramos 6 | Ravena 6 | Quiambao | Chiu 2 | Navarro 2 | Abarrientos 2
Quarter scores: 23-13, 47-21, 73-43, 106-60.