Smart Gilas had an impressive debut on its return stint in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) by beating the reigning Philippine Cup Champions Philippine Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters on their own up-tempo game, 103-98 moments ago. The Philippine national team started strong in the first quarter going 17-3 in the first few minutes and ending the game with a 15-3 rally.

I was particularly delighted with the way Gilas executed their offense. It seems that they have almost mastered coach Rajko Toroman’s system. Seven players contributed in double digits highlighting an unpredictability in the scoring department. They knew how to quickly adjust to the kind of defense their opponents throw at them. The quarterbacks were confident that they could easily hurdle the mid court line when pressured. Besides, the Gilas looked organized in execution on both ends of the floor. Checking on the stats, they were able to limit TNT’s outside firepower to just 21.4% on a 6 of 28 shooting while making 9 of 23 of their own beyond the arc. Moreover, the Gilas outrebounded TNT 58-50.

However, there’s one thing that did not sit well with me on that game. That is the rotation at the Center spot. Marcus Douhtit played 43 minutes while Jason Ballesteros and Greg Slaughter combined for a measly 5 minutes throughout the game. Greg could have contributed more on inside scoring and rebounding had he been given more time on the floor.

It may be just the first game that the Gilas played so far in this tournament but with the way I see it, they have begun to reap the fruits of their labor for the past two years. It’s in the system that matters. And I think that they have a right system in place. In my previous post dated January 17, I was in doubt about the future of this team with coach Rajko Toroman at the helm. Now, I believe otherwise. I am now confident about the performance of this team in its PBA stint and the upcoming tournaments especially at the FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China this September.

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