FIBA Esports Open II, FIBA’s second foray into esports basketball, just concluded its Southeast Asia & Oceania Conference over the weekend streamed live at the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and FIBA Facebook Page
The conference was played out over 2 days in a triple round-robin setup between the national teams from Australia, Philippines, and Indonesia. When all was said and done, Team Australia pulled off a stunning upset against the heavy favorites Team E-Gilas Pilipinas and were crowned the first-ever FIBA Esports Open SEA/Oceania Champions!
Game 1 PH V AUS: AUS 70- PH 53
The Philippines showed off a new trapping full-court defense to kick off the first game of the conference. However, Australia managed to surprise the heavy favorites thanks to the astounding play of Waurk and Squoogs who dropped 26 and 24 respectively. Waurk facilitated the Aussie offense to devastating efficiency grabbing 15 assists in the game.
Team Australia deals Team E-Gilas Pilipinas their first FIBA Esports Open loss, running away with the game 70-53.
Game 1 PH V INA: PH 65- INA 37
Game 1 between the Philippines versus Indonesia was a familiar sight. Having swept the INA in the previous FIBA Esports Open, the PH continued to assert their dominance.
Shintarou was unstoppable the whole game, dropping 37 points, half of which coming from 3-point territory. While on the INA side, they consistently missed open 3 pointers shooting 4 of 17 from range.
This deficit was what would ultimately decide the game in favor of the PH 65-37
Game 2 PH V AUS: PH 65- AUS 31
The PH was looking to bounce back from a surprising first game loss against AUS as they began their second matchup. It was a tightly contested battle early on, with both teams just within striking distance of each other.
The PH would pull ahead in the 2nd Quarter thanks to multiple defensive stops that were successfully converted to fastbreak points and open threes.
The 3rd quarter saw AUS getting too aggressive defensively going for risky steals on the ball handler leading into foul trouble early. The PH showed more of that stifling defense leading to more turnovers and never really giving AUS the momentum to come back.
PH wins over AUS 81-55
Game 2 PH V INA: PH 81- INA 55
The final game of the first day of action was between PH and INA. It was again a tight contest with both teams tied at 20 in the 2nd.
Then seemingly from out of nowhere, the PH sank 3 unanswered 3-pointers in less than a minute leaving Indonesia in the dust almost instantaneously. The PH ended the 2nd quarter with a 15-7 run going into the break.
After the half, INA manages to bring the PH lead down to 7 at the start of the 4th and even getting as close to within 5 with 1:45 remaining. Things got exciting with a big block by INA which resulted in a dunk on the other end narrowing the lead to just 3.
However, that’s about as close as INA could get as another round of 3-point bombs start raining in from Clark and Shintarou sealing the game for the PH Squad 81-55.
At the end of the first day, the Philippines sat at the top of the SEA/Oceania Conference tied with Australia with a 3-1 record.
Game 3 PH VS INA
Indonesia mounted a significant lead on the Philippines with a balanced attack 29-23 at the half. Rafisa led the way for INA, while PH’s hot-shooting duo of Shintarou and Custer started off with shooting woes. PH managed to hang in there with a back and forth game. After the half, PH gained some momentum as their bread and butter 3-pointers started to fall in. It was still a tightly contested matchup until 23 seconds left in the game with the PH leading by 3 points 52-49, INA committed a crucial error fouling Shintarou and giving up two free throws sealing the game for the PH Squad 54-49.
Game 3 PG VS AUS
Team PH starts the game on fire, jumping to a 13-2 lead to start the last game before entering the Finals. The PH ended the 1st quarter with 23-6 catching AUS off the back foot with their tried and true 3-point centric offense. The Aussies ultimately struggled to catch up to the huge deficit as the PH coasts to a dominating 76-45 victory.
The Philippines secured the top spot and the homecourt/server advantage going into the Conference Grand Finals.
Finals Game 1
The Aussies managed to take a slim lead in the first quarter 16-12 despite playing without the host server advantage thanks to some stifling defense on the Team PH shooters. Team E-Gilas Pilipinas struggled to get started early as they could not get their trifectas to drop through the AUS defense. The AUS team capitalized on the long rebounds from the long shots by pushing the tempo and fueling their fastbreak offense.
At the Half: The PH woes continue as poor defensive execution allows AUS to take a commanding lead at the halfway point 34-23. The Aussies swarmed PH’s best shooter Shintarou holding him down to 7 out of 18 shooting from the floor and just 4 out 12 shooting from his specialty three-pointers. The rest of the Team PH would also shoot dismal from distance on the night with corner 3 specialist Custer sinking only 3 of his 7 attempts and Clark making just 1 of his 5 attempts Most of those 3s started falling in the 3rd Quarter as PH tried to gather some momentum.
However, AUS still managed to hold a firm 53-36 lead in the 3rd thanks to an efficient and balanced scoring performance by Waurk, Vassallo, AnkleTV, DLaey who were all in double digits by the end of the game, each chipping in 12, 17, 17, and 14 respectively. Their fifth, JAG59622 only managed to score 2 points but was essential in kick-starting their running game by grabbing 14 rebounds.
The PH managed to bring the lead down to 6 at the closing minutes of the game but that was as close as they would get. Australia surprised The Philippines jumping to a commanding 1-0 lead in the best of 3 series
Finals Game 2
With Team PH’s backs against the wall, AUS keeps their foot on the gas blazing to a huge 20-12 in the 1st quarter. AUS gave the boys from the PH a taste of their own medicine shooting a perfect 6 for 6 from deep in the first frame.
Team PH opting to shoot their way out of the slump plays a bit predictably into the Aussies countermeasures—either stealing the ball from the Shintarou or forcing him to take bad shots and converting the misses into easy fastbreak opportunities.
At the Half: The long-range bombs continued to drop for Australia as they shot 82% from distance over Pilipinas’ 42% on the way to a 38 to 25 lead going into the halftime break. AUS DLaey led the charge up to this point shooting a perfect 6 of 6 from the field and 3 of those shots coming from three-point territory. His teammates AnkleTV and Vassallo were also perfect at this point each shooting 3 for 3 (1 from distance) and 2 for 2 from 3-point land, respectively.
On the PH side, no players were in double digits by halftime as they struggled from the field. Rial led the team at this point with 8 points with 6 coming from deep. Shintarou started off quiet with only 4 points off 2 for 4 shooting. Custer also struggled with just 3 points on 1 of 4 shooting from the field.
Team Pilipinas started off the 3rd with an absolute disaster of a sequence, first with a defensive 3-second violation which led to a free throw make, then giving up the AUS alley-oop in the play right after. PH then turns over the ball with a steal, which AUS converts into a devastating transition 3. Just like that Team Australia was up by 19 points against Team Pilipinas.
Team Pilipinas fully tunnel-visioned at this point into shooting threes, passing up easy two-pointers for the long bomb which was a gamble that ultimately didn’t pay off. AUS was keen to capitalise on the ensuing frustration by launching a Full Court Trap defense and continuing their onslaught with some more devastating threes.
AUS headed into the finals quarter with a huge 22 point lead over PH 57-35.
Ultimately, AUS proved to be too much for Team Pilipinas who struggled to find answers to make their way back. Team Australia’s DLaey led the game with 21 points on a perfect night with 8 for 8 shooting, 5 of which coming from range. All of the Aussies ended the game in double figures, including Waurk’s 12 points, 13 assist performance and a massive stat line from JAG59622 with 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
For the PH team, Shintarou and Rial both added in 13 points on the loss. Clark pitched in 12 points and 3 assists but would turn the ball over 5 times in the game. Custer had a quiet 10 points but pitched in 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. While big man Izzo put together 6 points and 7 rebounds, as well as 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
With the big 69-54 win, Team Australia is the first-ever FIBA Esports Open SEA/Oceania Champions!
At the end of the matchup, Team Captain of Team Pilipinas, Philippe Herrero IV aka IZZOIV gave GG Network an exclusive glimpse into the mindset of the team dealing with the loss, and moving forward:
“The team wasn’t able to second guess the opponents strategy fast enough. The group stage matches weren’t as fierce or offensive as the Finals matches. “
“It is never easy to come second. Nobody wants to lose. And the team is committed to win in future conferences. We will be at our best. That’s the team’s musings right now. We are all committed to win, be at our best and make the Philippines known in the 2k community worldwide. “
Congratulations to Team Australia for the Championship and to Team Pilipinas for the spectacular performance at representing the country!
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