QUEZON CITY, Philippines (Eagle News) – Gilas Pilipinas earned their ticket to the FIBA Asia 2017 after beating Indonesia in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Finals, 97-94, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Andray Blatche and Jayson William Castro led the Gilas charge in the first quarter by combining for 18 points in the first quarter. Combined with the team’s suffocating defense, Philippines held Indonesia to score only 14 points and entering the second quarter by 20 points.
Gilas kept pace with Indonesia in the second quarter but it was after the first half when June Mar Fajardo, Matthew Wright, Terrence Romeo, together with Blatche to score all their team’s 27 points to enter the last period with a 31 point lead.
With the lead intact, Philippines coasted through the fourth quarter to claim the 2017 SEABA championship.
Blatche finished the game with 21 points and ten rebounds while Gilas veterans Castro had 14 points, seven boards, and five assists. Fajardo chipped in with 13 points while Troy Rosario and Wright each had 9 apiece.
Indonesia will finish second place in the tournament and Thailand will take home the bronze medal.
Batang Gilas also prevailed in their championship match against Malaysia, 83-62, to claim the SEABA U-16 division championship.
Philippines 97 – Blatche 21, William 14, Fajardo 13, Rosario 9, Wright 9, Jalalon 6, Aguilar 6, Romeo 6, Abueva 5, Pogoy 5, Malicsi 3, Almazan 0.
Indonesia 64 – Wisnu 11, Wuysang 10, Grahita 8, Pratama 8, Sepitu 8, Kurniawan 7, Johnson 4, Sitrous 4, Dhyaksa 2, Nugroho 2, Lakudu 0.
Quarterscores: 34-14, 51-30, 78-47, 97-64.
Story by: Ernest Hernandez / Photo credit: Peter Baltazar