Gilas Cadets, Thais dispute Seaba title
The Philippines nearly crumbled in the preview of its championship meeting with Thailand.
Down to a make-or-break affair, Gilas Pilipinas should avoid late-game defensive lapses against the Thais today in the finals of the 5th Seaba Stankovic Cup at Stadium 29 in Bangkok.
“It’s hard playing against a veteran team like Thailand,” said Gilas cadet head coach Nash Racela, after the Filipinos escaped with a 66-65 squeaker over the Thais Thursday night.
“Good thing, our players were up to the challenge,” added Racela.
Mike Tolomia and Kevin Ferrer swished consecutive threes that wiped out Thailand’s three-point lead inside the last two minutes, rewarding the unbeaten Gilas cadets with a fourth straight win.
The Filipinos swept the preliminaries, but Racela sees a more-intense matchup in the championship.
“They’re (Thais) smart and very disciplined,” he said. “They know what to do against us.”
The collective efforts of Nakorn Jaisanuk, Bandit Lakhan and Chanachon Klahan, as well as Chitchai Ananti prevented Gilas from tearing the game apart every time the Philippines threatened to surge ahead.
More than capturing the trophy, the Filipinos and the Thais will be battling for pride since both teams have already advanced to the 2016 Fiba Asia Challenge.
The Philippines, which also leans on Troy Rosario, Mac Belo, Jiovani Jalalon, Roger Pogoy and Almond Vosotros, has never lost a game in the Seaba. Thailand is itching to break that streak.
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