By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

HAD a scintillating start to its 30th Southeast Asian Games campaign on Wednesday, the Philippine men’s national basketball team goes for a second straight win when it takes on Vietnam in a Group A match today.

Set for 8:15 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, the Tim Cone-coached and all-Philippine Basketball Association squad looks to build on its 52-point shellacking of Singapore last time around and further fortify its push in this year’s edition of the biennial regional sporting meet.

Stanley Pringle of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings got it going for the nationals early in their game versus the Singaporeans, who just saw things get worse for them as the contest moved along as Gilas was just thorough in its attack.

The Philippines held a 30-13 advantage after the first quarter and was never really threatened the rest of the way on its way to booking win number one.

Troy Rosario of the TNT KaTropa led the way for Gilas with 15 points to go along with eight boards while Mr. Pringle and Alaska Aces’ Vic Manuel had 14 points apiece.

Matthew Wright of the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters had 13, with San Miguel Beermen’s five-time league most valuable player June Mar Fajardo finishing with 12 points and six rebounds.

National team-debuting Chris Ross, also of the Beermen, did not score a point but had 10 assists in the win.

Despite the victory, Mr. Cone said they could still play better and hopes to do so in today’s match versus Vietnam.

“It’s fun coaching a powerhouse team but I think we still did not play our best basketball tonight,” Mr. Cone shared to members of media after their debut win.

“We still have to make adjustments both on offense and defense and get comfortable playing with one another,” he added.

Out to bring down the Philippine team today is Vietnam, which was a 132-52 winner over Myanmar also on Wednesday.

In the SEA Games, the Philippines has had a stranglehold on the basketball event, having won gold in 17 of the 19 times the sport has been featured in the Games.