Japeth Aguilar sizzled for 23 points as his near-perfect game sparked the Philippine national men’s basketball team to a 108-53 shellacking of Thailand in the 2017 SEABA Championship Tuesday night at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The high-flying forward made all of his 10 attempts from the field, but his one miss at the free throw line prevented him from pulling off a flawless game.
Aguilar poured in 15 of his total output in the second quarter to help Gilas Pilipinas ward off a tough challenge from Thailand who stood toe-to-toe against the Filipinos in the first quarter.
Gilas Pilipinas was caught off-guard by the grit of Thailand which, with its sticky defense, made life difficult for the Filipinos in the opening frame.
Thailand only trailed by four points, 18-14, after the first 10 minutes as the struggling Gilas Pilipinas only shot one out of nine from downtown and turned the ball over five times in a sloppy quarter.
But Aguilar changed things for the Filipinos. He entered the game in the second period and instantly provided the much-needed lift, skying high for devastating blocks and throwing down rim-rattling dunks to ignite Gilas Pilipinas.
All of a sudden, Gilas Pilipinas pulled away with a blistering 25-6 run led by Aguilar who outscored the whole Thai squad in the second quarter, 15-12.
Gilas Pilipinas led, 51-26, at the half and never looked back, padding its biggest cushion to 56 points.
Calvin Abueva added 15 points and six dimes while Terrence Romeo and Andray Blatche contributed 11 points each for the hosts who remain unbeaten in four games.
The Filipinos will return to action on Wednesday against basketball minnow Vietnam.