The efficient Dwight Ramos showed up in Gilas Pilipinas’ hard-fought win against Saudi Arabia.
Viewed as the heavy favorites coming in, Gilas Pilipinas had to fight and grind to carve a 76-63 win over Saudi Arabia in the fifth window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Saudi Arabia was relentless with their downhill attacks and transition offense early on, but the Gilas defense eventually settled into the task at hand. Gilas relied again on their defense, along with efficient offensive performances from a handful of individuals.
Continue reading below to see how your favorite Gilas hoopers fared in the win against Saudi Arabia.
Dwight Ramos: A+
13 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Coming off an error-prone offense (six turnovers) in the win against Jordan, Ramos was back to his usual, efficient self. His decisions with the ball were on-point, and his penetrations set up tons of drop-pass opportunities to the Gilas bigs. Arguably the team’s best two-way wing, Ramos had a brilliant bounce-back performance against Saudi Arabia.
Kai Sotto: A+
11 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 blocks
Along with the dunks and blocks, Kai again displayed his propensity to dish out good passes. He had a couple of excellently-timed pocket passes, and it seems that he’s more comfortable with the offense in this window. With his understanding of the game getting better, it’s a luxury to know that the team can trust him to make the right decisions when he has the ball.
Scottie Thompson: A
9 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
His ability to make split-second decisions, combined with tremendous court vision, is what makes Scottie a special player. Not a lot of Filipino guards have that unique blend of playmaking chops, and Scottie is showing that it’s a skill that just comes naturally to him. His performance this window is enough to make him a shoo-in for the World Cup next year.
RR pogoy: A-
13 points, 4 rebounds, 3-of-7 3PT
We previously talked about Pogoy only shooting just one three-point attempt in the win against Jordan. But he was brought into this lineup to provide spacing for the Gilas offense, and he has to take multiple attempts from deep to do that. Pogoy came through in the Saudi Arabia match, as he hit three of his seven three-point tries.
Ray Parks Jr.: A-
8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
I thought that he could have gotten more ball-handling opportunities with the second unit (especially with CJ Perez struggling), but Parks’ work on the defensive end was impeccable. Whether it is the mindset, a better defensive scheme, or just being in better shape, Parks is way better as a defender in this window as compared to his previous Gilas stints.
Japeth Aguilar: B+
6 points, 3-of-5 FG
This is a classic example of why the box score doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. Japeth did not have a single block in the stat sheet, but the number of shots he deterred was more than a handful. The 35-year-old big man was a pogo stick out there, challenging shots left and right, and making it hard for Saudi Arabia to have an easy look at the rim.
Ange Kouame: B+
5 points, 4 rebounds
Kouame also didn’t tally defensive stocks on the stat sheet, but he was able to right the ship on defense when Gilas clamped down on Saudi Arabia in the second period. Kouame is our best bet in defending pick-and-rolls, and he also has the length and mobility to protect the rim.
CJ Perez: B
10 points, 4 rebounds, 5 turnovers
Perez will always be aggressive and willing to take on a heavy workload on offense, but this also leads him to become erratic with the ball. He forced his way a lot of times against Saudi Arabia, resulting in five turnovers and tons of bad shots. Perez should stack this performance away, and just remember how he managed to be an efficient point in that second-half performance against Jordan.
Poy Erram, Jamie Malonzo, Calvin Oftana, Kevin Quiambao: C
Erram, Malonzo, Oftana, and Quiambao each logged no more than five minutes of play. Despite having his highlight dunk rejected, Malonzo’s defensive potential as a four should be enough to put his name in consideration for the next Gilas campaigns. Lapses on defense shortened Erram’s night, and youngsters Oftana and Quiambao will surely have more chances to grow in the years to come.