Team Pilipinas just completed an absolutely dominant performance in the first-ever FIBA ESPORTS OPEN as they swept their 5-game head-to-head matchup against Indonesia. The Philippine squad, touted as the “Dream Team” of NBA 2K Asia, is composed of previous champions of the 2K Asia League.
In Game 1, the Indonesian team was in trouble early as Custer Galas aka Aguila, playing as a pure defender archetype, incessantly hounded INA’s ball-handler TurnUpTheOffense which led to a lot of crucial turnovers and forced shots. On offense, Aljon Cruzin aka Shintarou, a slashplay guard, would have his way with the Indonesian defense, driving almost unimpeded to the cup at times, including a massive tomahawk jam over 2 Indonesian players! Shintarou comes away with 22 points 3 rebounds and 7 assists leading Team Pilipinas to a big opening win, 56-29.
In Game 2, both teams started slow in the 1st quarter, struggling to find the basket with the score stuck at 3-0 for a majority of the opening minutes before ending the 1st frame at 7-5 in the Philippines’ favor. In the second, the Indonesians kept it close, tasting their first lead in the entire first day of play at 10-7 but the Philippines would soon return to their winning ways fueled by their tenacious full-court pressure defense, forcing stops and turnovers and punishing with blistering fastbreak on the other end. From there Team Pilipinas would run away with it and never look back barreling to a 64-30 win lead once again by Shintarou with 23 points and 4 assists shooting 8/10 from the field and 4/4 from 3 point range.
On Day 2 of the FIBA ESPORTS OPEN, the Philippines once again faced off against Indonesia for Games 3 and 4 of their 5-game matchup and it would be a lot more of the same commanding performance and immaculate gameplay.
In Game 3, 2-time NBA 2K Asia Champion Rial Polog Jr. aka Rial would make his presence felt in a huge way. He would bombard the Indonesia team all game long with 3-pointers, shooting 7/9 from range on his way to a massive 30 point performance. Shintarou would also come up big for the team orchestrating the offense with his patented drive and dish coming up with 15 assists in the game. Team Pilipinas comes up with another big win 66-34
Rial would take the 3-point shooting gallery right into Game 4 where Team Pilipinas would blitz up a 15-0 start against Indonesia. The 2016 and 2019 NBA 2K Asian Champion would once again lead his team to victory with 28 points, missing just ONE SHOT in the whole game, resulting in 6/7 shooting from deep and 11/12 from the field. Team Pilipinas runs away with it 79-44.
The final day of the historic FIBA ESPORTS OPEN also held the fifth and final game in the PH vs INA matchup and it would be the most competitive out of the whole series. A determined Indonesian team would trade buckets with the Philippines in the first quarter and putting up a strong defensive effort, ending the first frame with the score tied at 9. In the second, Indonesia takes a 5-point lead 14-9 on the Philippines thanks to some crafty passing by INA Point Guard TurnUpOffense. However, Team Pilipinas would wake up and crank up that patented defense, stealing the ball 3 straight INA possessions in a row and forcing a huge turnover to spark a 13-2 run to end the half with a 22-16 lead.
From there, Team Pilipinas would not let up the gas, firing up a volley of 3-pointers from Rial, Izzo, and Clark and absolutely smothering the Indonesian offense and that would be all she wrote. The Philippines takes game 5 with a commanding 71-35 finish and completes their sweep of the Southeast Asian conference of the first-ever FIBA Esports Open!
After the game, key defensive anchor and Game 5 MVP Custer Galas aka Aguila, spoke about how the individual greatness of each of the PH players came together in the “Dream Team”:
“Yung chemistry namin, 8-10 hours kami nagpa-pratice, matagal narin kami magkakalaro [at magkalaban sa tourneys] , kaya sanay narin kami sa isa’t isa at kaya kami nag-excel.
(We have chemistry, we practice 8-10 hours a day and we’ve all played with and against each other in various tourneys through the years so we know each other well. That’s why we excel.) “
“Kailangan talaga, magtiwala ka sa teammates mo… Kailangan talaga alam mo role mo and alam mo kailangan mong gawin. (You really have to trust your teammates. You also have to know your role and what you need to do)”
With the dominant win a, Team Pilipinas solidifies itself as one, if not THE powerhouse in Asia NBA 2K Basketball scene. It’s safe to assume that when FIBA does formalize an official tournament, you can count on Team Pilipinas and the rest of the Philippines to be one of the very first on the list.
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