FIBA Esports Open 2020: Team Pilipinas clinches Southeast Asia title with sweep of Indonesia

FIBA Esports Open 2020 Philippines won versun Indonesia
Team Pilipinas swept Indonesia, 5-0, to clinch the Southeast Asian title in the FIBA Esports Open 2020. SBP - Photo: ESPN

FIBA Esports Open 2020: Team Pilipinas clinches Southeast Asia title with sweep of Indonesia

Team Pilipinas showcased a dominant performance in the FIBA Esports Open 2020, sweeping its head-to-head matchup against Indonesia, 5-0.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 the second day, 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, two-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 tournament also held the fifth and final game of the Philippines-Indonesia 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 woke up up and cranked up that patented defense, stealing the ball from Indonesia in three straight possessions and forcing a huge turnover to spark a 13-2 run to end the half with a 22-16 lead.

From there, Team Pilipinas did not let its foot off 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 took game 5 with a commanding 71-35 finish and completed its 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, said the individual greatness of each of the players came together for the win. "Yung chemistry namin, 8 to 10 hours kami nagpa-practice, matagal na rin kami magkakalaro [at magkalaban sa tourneys] , kaya sanay narin kami sa isa't isa at kaya kami nag-excel," he said. "Kailangan talaga magtiwala ka sa teammates mo. Kailangan talaga alam mo role mo and alam mo kailangan mong gawin."

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio, in a statement, praised the squad, which solidified itself as one of the powerhouses in the NBA 2K scene in Asia, for the historic win.

"Many congratulations on the 5-0 sweep! Thank you, Team Pilipinas! SBP is very proud of you all! Keep on playing and improving for future FIBA Esports tournament. Remain humble but hungry. Laban Pilipinas! Lakad Matatag!" said Panlilio. - ESPN
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