Philippines remains SEA basketball king, beats Indonesia for gold medal

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas might played its worst in the semis against Singapore yesterday but showed a superb all-around basketball performance in its finals showdown against Indonesia to cop the South East Asian Men’s Basketball crown on Saturday, August 26, 2017 at the MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Philippines remains SEA basketball king
CONGRATULATIONS, Gilas Pilipinas! Photo Credit: Sports5
Bobby Ray Parks Jr. had the last laugh against Tyler Lamb as Team Thailand fell short in the hands of Mario Wuysang and Team Indonesia during their semis duel. Nevertheless, it was still a high mountain to climb for Gilas Pilipinas in facing Indonesia in the SEA Games Men’s basketball finals.

Gilas Pilipinas had a bad night from the outside yesterday against Singapore. But tonight, Von Pessumal officially opened the finals showdown from the three point territory followed by Christian Standhardinger’s back-to-back two pointers.

Indonesia kept the game close through the impeccable court vision and leadership of ABL veteran Mario Wuysang. 12-9 in favor of Philippines with 5 more minutes remaining in the opening quarter.

Indo-American Arky Wisnu beat Kiefer Ravena and Troy Rosario off transition to claim the lead for the very first time. Carl Cruz however, drained a timely trey to bring the lead back to Gilas’ side.

Philippines’ barely survived the 1st period with a slim 4-point, 19-15 lead.

Both squads struggled to score baskets in the early phase of the 2nd quarter. Standhardinger initiated the attack midway of the second to post Philippines’ first double-digit, 30-17 lead. Notably, Gilas blitzed for 11-2 scoring run to improve its performance.

Mike Tolomia and Kiefer Ravena started to rain triples to surpass Philippines’ poor outside shooting against Indonesia in the semifinals. Tolomia alone matched Gilas’ total 3-pointers yesterday with 3.

Troy Rosario’s put back slam off Kobe Paras’ missed free throw ended the 1st half big time. 45-27 in favor of Gilas Pilipinas.

Gang rebounding was Gilas’ key to success in the 1st half at least that gave them a good margin. The nationals sustained it at the start of the 2nd half to maintain their lead.

A controversy occurred in the 6th minute of the third. Christian Standhardinger got fouled in the act of shooting and was awarded with free throws. The Fil-German made the first attempt but Indonesia quickly inbounded the ball and rushed to their goal. To Philippines’ surprise, the referees missed to give Standhardinger his 2nd foul shot. Despite the misfortune, Gilas still enjoyed a 20-point lead.

Good ball distribution was Philippines’ bread and butter in this game along with less turnovers. On the other hand, Indonesia was hit hard by bad luck as all players missed multiple shots. The Indonesians only scored 7 points in the 3rd quarter with 8 minutes gone by since the 2nd half started.

After 30 minutes of lopsided basketball, Philippines brought a 29-point, 68-39 lead to the final 10 minutes of the ballgame.

Indonesia literally needed a miracle in order to upset Philippines with just a full quarter to go. Indonesian Coach Wahyu Widayat Jati sensed that a comeback is almost impossible with his team downed by 30 plus points, so he opted to rest his superstars Mario Wuysang and Arki Wisnu and let the supporting cast finished the game.

Coach Jong Uichico did a great job in containing deadly Mario Wuysang and limited the guard to just 2 points. In the absence of Wuysang, Sandy Kurniawan took the helm and single-handedly moving Indonesia’s digits.

It was all Kobe Paras in the final canto. The young Paras made the crowd crazy as he displayed thunderous and emphatic dunks. The Filipinos cheered “Kobe! Kobe!” relentlessly as a sign of amusement and applause to the high-flying forward.

As the final horn echoed in the entire MABA stadium, Gilas Pilipinas swept the tournament and dismantled Indonesia to the tune of 94-55. Along with this, Philippines Men’s Basketball Team bagged its 17th gold medal in Southeast Asian Games history.

Congratulations, Gilas Pilipinas! Your countrymen are so proud of you! Laban Pilipinas! Puso!

-- Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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