After a tough, pressure-packed opening-game win against Thailand, Gilas Pilipinas got what amounted to a 40-minute light scrimmage as they breezed past a hopelessly overmatched Cambodia 100-32 to notch their second win in the 31st Southeast Asian Games men's basketball competition in Hanoi.
It was the type of game Gilas needed after struggling to the finish line against the Thais: a lightweight opponent who didn't put up much resistance.
The younger players on the team were also given their chance to shine, and they made the most of the opportunity.
Here are five thoughts on the game:
1. Cambodia is still a long way from being competitive
Cambodia lost their first game to hosts Vietnam by 32 on Tuesday. But then again, they have never been a regional contender in basketball.
Although they have also followed the blueprint of recruiting foreign-born players with local lineage -- they already had one such player in the 2011 Jakarta Games -- they still haven't made any inroads. They have no player taller than 6-2, making June Mar Fajardo look like Gulliver in the paint.
Not surprisingly, Gilas won the rebounding battle, 51-24. Their guards also don't dribble very well, and their Gilas counterparts picked their pockets for 18 steals.
2. The veterans got their rest
Speaking of Fajardo, just a day after he dropped 28 points on Thailand, the Kraken played only eight minutes and scored a quiet five points.
He wasn't the only PBA veteran who got limited run time. Matthew Wright (9:10), RR Pogoy (9:37), Mo Tautuaa (8:36) and Kiefer Ravena (12:02) all gave way to the younger members of the team as coach Chot Reyes looked to preserve their legs ahead to back-to-back games against Singapore and Vietnam on Wednesday and Thursday.
Kib Montalbo, Jaydee Tungcab, Isaac Go and Will Navarro all played more than 20 minutes each and combined for more than half (51) of the team's 100 points. However, it was the youngest Gilas member who stole the show...
3. Francis "LeBron" Lopez unleashes his highlight reel
Lopez was among three players not used by Reyes against Thailand, and he more than made up for lost time. The 19-year-old led the team in scoring with 17 points on an efficient 8-of-11 shooting, majority of which came on powerful slams that wowed the capacity crowd.
Lopez also showed his quick reflexes, twice blocking a jump shooter emphatically and darting into the passing lane for a steal. For the game he was a ridiculous +56 on the plus-minus scale.
Of course, the competition wasn't exactly Barangay Ginebra, but at least the kid breathed life into an otherwise dull affair. It's uncertain if Lopez will get any more meaningful minutes going forward, but at least he got his turn to shine.
4. Will Navarro also looked pretty good
Navarro was also benched against Thailand (Tungcab was the third player who didn't see action), and like Lopez, he bounced back nicely. For a 6-4 player he runs the floor well and can crash the boards.
Against Cambodia he had 17 points (on 7-of-10 shooting) and 7 rebounds in around 21 minutes of playing time, including his own one-handed dunk. In terms of development, Navarro is slightly ahead of Lopez at this point of their careers, and it will be interesting to see which player will get more playing time in the remaining games.
5. There are still a few things to work on
You wouldn't know it looking at the stat sheet, but there were times some Gilas players looked a little bad.
Tungcab stepped on the baseline a couple of times, while Tautuaa, Go and Troy Rosario all inexplicably missed wide open shots underneath the basket. There were also a few lazy bounce passes into the paint that were easily picked off by Cambodia.
The players still need to practice their free throws (10-of-16), although Cambodia was even worse at 1-of-8. And finally, the refs are still getting them for that moving screen.