SEA Games: Gilas Pilipinas’ reign ends as Indonesia gets basketball gold

June Mar Fajardo swarmed by Indonesian defenders in their 31st SEA Games match up. SEA GAMES POOL

June Mar Fajardo swarmed by Indonesian defenders in their 31st SEA Games match up. SEA GAMES POOL

Playing a retooled enemy eager to assert its might in the region, the Philippines bowed to sweet-shooting Indonesia, 85-81, in the 31st Southeast Asian Games on Sunday, ending a golden rule that had spanned 33 years.

Gilas Pilipinas was roughened up early in the contest at Thanh Tri Gymnasium in Hanoi, and then struggled to counter the Indonesians, who shot the lights out from deep.

Matthew Wright led the way for Gilas Pilipinas with 23 points, June Mar Fajardo added 20 more as the Nationals settled for a silver medal in the first since 1989.

Thirdy Ravena and Troy Rosario finished with 17 and 12 points, respectively, but Gilas struggled to draw production from its supporting cast.

That enabled Indonesia’s trio of naturalized players Marques Bolden, Derric Xzavierro, and Abraham Grahita to assert themselves and keep the Filipinos at the backseat as the game plodded along.

The loss comes at a time when the national program continues to reel and rebuild from a sudden shakeup that unseated program director and head coach Tab Baldwin.

Even more alarming is that the Philippines had to absorb such a gut wrenching defeat just 14 months before it cohosts the 2023 Fiba World Cup with Japan and Indonesia.

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