SEA Games: Gilas Pilipinas advances to semis after edging Myanmar

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas will face Indonesia in the semifinals after wrapping up the elimination rounds of 30th Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball and demolished Myanmar, 136-67 on Saturday, December 7, 2019 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

In a very unusual style, Coach Tim Cone tweaked his starting lineup a little bit. Instead of going quick, strong and tall, the Ginebra mentor opted to go with his back-up unit against Myanmar.

Gilas Pilipinas blanked Myanmar for few minutes. But the Burmese fired back hard that rocked and shocked Philippines. Coach Cone had no other option but to burn an early timeout.

Philippines’ untimely ceasefire paid off as Keifer Ravena abruptly erupted from the rainbow territory.

Myanmar is clearly not a pushover and it wasn’t really a walk in a park for the Philippines. Believe it or not, Gilas Pilipinas was just ahead by 8, 32-24 after the 1st quarter.

Threatened by Myanmar’s scoring surge, Tim Cone brought in his gunners at the start of the 2nd period to counter the Burmese offensive onslaught.

In just a glimpse, Gilas caught fire from the outside led by future PBA hall of famers Matthew Wright and Marcio Lassiter.

Matthew Wright led Gilas Pilipinas in its 3rd straight win
Sans Fajardo and Pringle, Matthew Wright led Gilas Pilipinas in its 3rd straight win and gave Myanmar an unforgettable loss | Credit: Business World

Midway of the second, Philippines’ margin ballooned to 25.

Myanmar’s scoring had diminished. In contrast, Philippines never looked back and Matthew Wright made it rain from downtown and ended the 1st half in dominating fashion, 77-36.

It was a steady 3rd period for Gilas Pilipinas as the Filipino cagers maintained a huge half-century gap even without the services of June Mar Fajardo and Stanley Pringle.

Coach Cone opted to rest Fajardo and Pringle in preparation for the semis where Philippines will face a Rajko Toroman-mentored Team Indonesia on Monday.

Vic Manuel spearheaded the scoring barrage in the penultimate quarter with 20 points and a commanding 104-49 lead entering the final chapter,

To avoid a Myanmar comeback, Tim Cone intensified his team’s frontcourt by fielding in Christian Standhardinger, Japeth Aguilar and Vic Manuel in the final canto.

Not only the frontcourt trio protected the rim but they also contributed in stacking up their team’s lead.

Despite the gigantic advantage, Wright didn’t stop from dropping bombs on Myanmar until the final buzzer echoed. Wright made 8 triples to lead all scorers.

The Philippines swept the eliminations with an unblemish 3-0 after edging Myanmar, 136-67.

With the win, Gilas Pilipinas will surely advance to the semis and will play against a very dangerous Team Indonesia on Monday, December 9, 2019.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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