Dion Prewster and Tom Vodanovich were unstoppable in the early goings and their presence proved to be New Zealand’s big advantage as they smothered Gilas Pilipinas, 88-63, Sunday to take the lead in Group A of the second window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Prewster and Vodanovich each finished with 20 points, inflicting a lot of damage with their outside shooting.
Rob Loe and former La Salle Green Archer Taane Samuel ably backed up the two as the Kiwis went on to post their second straight triumph in Group A.
Triples from Loe, Samuel and Vodanovich in the last 3:43 allowed the Kiwis to quickly gain distance, 17-9, in the first canto.
Vodanovich once again made his presence felt at the 6:17 mark of the second period as the Kiwis widened their edge by 10, 30-20.
The Kiwis then went on to grab their biggest lead at 65-43, off Takiula Fahrenson’s trey.
Gilas, which drew 23 points from Thirdy Ravena, now has a 1-1 slate.
Dwight Ramos contributed 18 points for Gilas, which fell behind after the Kiwis outrebounded them, 54-34.
“Proud of the players. It was a tough team and we did not back down,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes.
NZ coach Pero Cameron said their two games gave them a chance to get into game shape, after the team was not allowed to have international exposure due to the pandemic lockdowns that were imposed in their country over the last two years.