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SEA Games: Mission accomplished as Gilas nails 18th gold medal with rout of Thailand

By Waylon Galvez

Mission accomplished for Gilas Pilipinas.

The best of Philippine basketball delivered what was expected of them as the Filipinos produced a dominant performance to score a 115-81 win over Thailand in the gold medal match of men’s basketball in the 30th Southeast Asian Games Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Gilas Pilipinas celebrates after beating Thailand in basketball finals to nail its 18th gold medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, December 10, 2019. (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 5D Mark IV with 16-35mm f2.8 lens)

Gilas Pilipinas celebrates after beating Thailand in basketball finals to nail its 18th gold medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, December 10, 2019. (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 5D Mark IV with 16-35mm f2.8 lens)

The national team, composed of PBA players, used a big third quarter when it outscored Thailand 40-15. That turned a 48-39 lead through two quarters to a comfortable 88-54 advantage going to the final frame.

June Mar Fajardo, a five-time PBA Most Valuable Player, proved he isn’t just a dominant force in the country’s pro league but in the region as he finished with a double-double 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Christian Standhardinger also had a solid outing with 16 points and 11 boards, while LA Tenorio added 16 points, Matthew Wright and Vic Manuel contributed 14 points apiece, and Stanley Pringle had 13 points.

The gold medal count for the Philippines improved to 18 overall – the best in 20 editions of the biennial meet.

“It’s incredibly special,” said Gilas Pilipinas coach Tim Cone, who owns the PBA record for most titles with 21 – including two Grand Slam titles – but ranks this feat the best in his 30-year coaching career.

Gilas PIlipinas' Vic Manuel drives past Thailand defenders (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 1DX Mark II with 70-200mm f2.8 lens)

Gilas Pilipinas’ Vic Manuel drives past Thai defenders (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 1DX Mark II with 70-200mm f2.8 lens)

“I’ve won a few championships in the PBA but this is on top,” added Cone, who earned a bronze medal with a similar PBA-backed Centennial Team during the 1998 Asian Games in Thailand.

The gold medal was likewise historic for Kiefer Ravena – a late addition after ace guard Jayson Castro suffered a foot injury – as he now owns the record of five in the SEA Games. He finished with 10 points.

“Of course it’s always special to win a gold medal for the country,” said Ravena, whose other stint with the national team in the SEA Games were in 2011 in Jakarta, 2013 in Myanmar, 2015 in Singapore and 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.

Troy Rosario won his third SEA Games gold medal following his stints in 2015 and 2017, while Standhardinger now has two after he played in 2017, and 7-foot center Greg Slaughter earned his second as he was part of the 2011 squad.

For the remaining eight, however, this is their first gold medal in the SEA Games.

“This is memorable for me kasi first time ko maka-laro sa SEA Games, and nakuha natin ang gold medal,” said Tenorio, who won a gold medal in the Jones Cup and a silver medal in the FIBA-Asia Championship both in 2014 together with Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar.

Also winning their first SEA Games gold medal were Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Manuel, Pringle, Fajardo, Aguilar and Wright.

It was a tight first half as the Philippines took a 48-39 advantage after Tyler Lamb connected a three-point shot but Pringle beat the buzzer with a jump shot to end the second quarter.

In the first period, the national team had a 25-19 edge but back-to-back triples by Ravena and Tenorio gave the Filipinos a 31-19 lead. Thailand countered with an 11-4 run that trimmed the deficit to 35-30.

It was a double victory for Gilas Pilipinas as the women’s national team made history by winning its first gold medal in the SEA Games following a 91-71 victory over Thailand.

Overall, the Philippines had a clean sweep of all the basketball events as both the men’s and women’s teams triumphed in the 3×3 action – a first in the SEA Games – last week.

In the bronze medal match, Vietnam stunned Indonesia – silver medalist in the previous SEA Games – with an 86-71 victory for its first podium finish in basketball event in the biennial meet.

Dang Khoa Tran fired 21 points to lead Vietnam, Christopher Dierker added 18 points, while Justin Young had double-double 15 points and 15 rebounds, and Than Tram Dinh contributed 15 points.

Scores:

First Game

VIETNAM 86 – Tran 21, Dierker 18, Young 15, Dinh T.T. 15, Dinh T.S. 11, Nguyen T. 4, Le 2, Du 0, Vo 0, Hoang 0, Nguyen H. 0.

INDONESIA 71 – Oei 17, Grahita 16, Dhyaksa 16, Gemilang 13, Kokodiputra 5, Kokasih 2, Joni 2, lakuda 0, Sitorus 0, Seputra 0, Wicaksono 0.

Quarters: 17-19; 41-34; 67-54; 86-71.

Second Game

PHILIPPINES 115 – Fajardo 17, Standhardinger 16, Tenborio 16, Wright 14, Manuel 14, Pringle 13, Ravena 10, Ross 8, Lassiter 3, Rosario 2, Aguilae 2, Slaughter 0.

THAILAND 81 – Lamb 33, Jakrawan 15, Sutitisinb 7, Leelapipatkul 7, Jaisanuk 6, Chanthacon 6, Muangboon 3, Langsui 1, Klahan 1, Apiromvilaichai 0, Ananti 0.

Quarters: 25-17; 48-39; 88-54; 115-81.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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