Philippines defends basketball title, rips Indonesia for the gold
KUALA LUMPUR—When all else fails, at least win the basketball gold.
While Team Philippines took defeats from several corners, Gilas Pilipinas made sure to pocket the gold that the country craves for the most, drubbing Indonesia, 94-55, for the Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball title Saturday.
Before an overflow crowd at MABA Stadium, the Philippines, sending its Team B here, claimed its 12th straight SEA Games gold medal in a show of undeniable might.
The Philippines has won 18 titles in all having lost the crown just once—in the 1989 edition that was incidentally held in this city.
“It’s a wonderful feeling for me. It’s icing on the cake,” said team captain Kiefer Ravena, who has now won fourth straight SEA Games titles.
The flashy point guard served as the pillar for Gilas, which wasn’t very consistent all tournament long and only played as one cohesive unit in the final.
He made seven points aside from providing leadership in the team that was assembled off the pool members who weren’t chosen for the Fiba Asian Cup held the previous week.
“Given the chance, I will play for the Philippines once again,” said Ravena referring to the 2019 Games that will be held in Manila.
Mike Tolomia topscored with 20 points including five three-pointers as Gilas found its mark early in the match to pull away beyond the reach of the Indonesians.
“We shot very well tonight, that’s the key,” said coach Jong Uichico who handled the team even as Chot Reyes, head coach of Gilas’ Team A, arrived in the city Friday.
Kobe Paras added 14 points—flashing his highlight-reel moves to the delight the gallery.
Fil-German Christian Standhardinger chipped 11 as he provided muscle underneath when Indonesia was trying to drag the Filipinos to a slow-burn, half court game.