These five players stood out for Gilas
A split in the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers wasn’t necessarily the ideal scenario for Gilas Pilipinas.
But the national team was just a basket shy of going 2-0 against two of Asia’s best teams, and it definitely gave Filipino hoops fans plenty to cheer about. These five standout players, in particular, left quite an impression:
Averages: 29 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Kabayan’s debut in a Gilas uniform was okay as he mostly played team ball and deferred to his hot-shooting teammates. His encore, though, was sublime as he carried the fight for the Filipinos and nearly willed Gilas to a stunning comeback win over Jordan. In two games, Brownlee proved he can play within that dribble-drive system but go god-mode when needed.
Averages: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Malonzo was the breakout star of this sixth window, using his length and athleticism to create chaos on defense, score in transition, and grab some boards. He even proved he can hit the trey ball when open.
Averages: 7 points, 6 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1 steal
Sure, Thompson missed those crucial freebies against Jordan, but he did what point guards are supposed to do: orchestrate the offense and defend the point of attack. His second half defense on Freddy Ibrahim, in particular, was exquisite and one of the main reasons Gilas nearly authored a comeback for the ages.
Averages: 9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3 assists
Nothing Parks did in this sixth window was spectacular. But he was rock-solid nonetheless. He knocked down a few open shots, grabbed a couple of boards, and found the open man. He also defended well, particularly in that Jordan fight back.
Averages: 9.5 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
It was a nice return for Heading, who proved he can do more for Gilas than just shoot standstill treys. Heading got to the lane a few times in both games, and he also showed he can be a stout, active defender. He was off against Jordan, but he still found ways to contribute to that comeback.
Honorable mention: Mason Amos
Amos was electric in that third quarter against Lebanon, then crashed back down to Earth against Jordan. But, boy, that stroke is oh-so-pure.