Playing true to form, Gilas Pilipinas pummeled Singapore, 88-37, for its third straight win in the 31st Southeast Asian Games at Thanh Tri Gymnasium on Wednesday.
Coming off a 100-32 thrashing of Cambodia the day before, the Filipinos were unstoppable from the tipoff as they poured 13 points while limiting the Singaporeans to a single point in the opening minutes.
And they never looked back from there, with the 14th basketball gold coming within their grasp.
Young star Francis Lebron Lopez again rose to the occasion with 18 points anchored on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting.
The 19-year-old Lopez topscored for Gilas in the 68-point blowout win against Cambodia.
RR Pogoy led with 19 points and Junemar Fajardo had 8 points on top of 11 rebounds.
The Philippines goes for its 4th straight win as it battles host Vietnam next on Thursday.
It has been dominant run for Gilas since scraping past a gritty Thailand side, 76-73, at the start of the men’s 5×5 basketball tournament on May 16.
Meanwhile, the Philippine women’s squad whipped rival Thailand 97-81, for its second straight win.
Afril Bernardino showed the way with 20 points and 16 rebounds as the Gilas women’s squad took the lead in the round-robin tournament where the top placer wins the gold.
Four consecutive threes from Fil-Am rookie Stefanie Berberabe, Chack Cabinbin, Janine Pontejos, and Gabi Bade, another US-based player making her SEA Games debut, sparked a big charge that turned a 27-25 lead into a 39-27 bubble in the second period.
“I’m just so happy again. They really worked hard and competed at the start. Sabi ko nga sa inyo, let’s just continue what we are doing. Wala naman tayong dapat baguhin. Sana dere-derecho lang,” said coach Pat Aquino.
Berberabe, a product of Westmont College in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), had 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals while Katrina Guytingco chipped in 10 points. Cabinbin, Clare Castro, and Bade each had nine markers.
The Philippines tries to stay unbeaten when it battles Vietnam Thursday at 5 p.m. (6 p.m. Philippine time).