SEA Games: Birthday boy LeBron Lopez shines as Gilas thwarts Cambodia

On his 19th birthday, Francis “LeBron” Lopez put on a dunking clinic as Gilas Pilipinas made quick work of a lowly Cambodia side, 100-32 to go 2-0 in the 31st Southeast Asian Games Vietnam 2021 men’s 5-on-5 basketball tournament on Tuesday at the Thanh Tri Gymnasium in Hanoi.

A 17-0 run to close the first quarter was everything the nationals needed to pull away and register their second victory in the seven-team competition.

Later, a breakaway dunk from the high-flying Lopez pushed the lead up to 47-17 late in the second period before Gilas continued to pad the lead.

The 6-foot-9 Lopez made the most out his minutes and scored a game-high 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting to lead five double-digit scorers.

William Navarro had 16 points (7-of-10 FGs), Jaydee Tungcab had 14 markers and five steals, while Isaac Go finished with a double-double of 13 points and 12 boards.

Coach Chot Reyes fielded all 12 players and shuffled their playing times with balance, opting to give more rest to his main guns.

June Mar Fajardo, Matthew Wright, Troy Rosario, Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy Ravena, Moala Tautuaa, and RR Pogoy played only 13 minutes or less.

The Filipinos shot 55 percent from the field, had a 51-24 disparity in total rebounds, and had 18 steals which contributed to 43 turnover points.

Michael Henry Seng had eight points for the Cambodians, while Chhorath Tep and Johnathan Rammarith So tallied seven points apiece.

Cambodia dropped to 0-2 in the competition. The team lost to Vietnam yesterday, 87-55.

The Philippines will battle Singapore tomorrow, May 18 before meeting the host country on May 19.

File photo from

Levi Joshua Jr Verora

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