2017 SEA Games Day 4: Gilas dominates hosts, Perlas in dramatic comeback over Thais

Day 4 of the basketball competitions at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia saw a pair of wins for the Philippine national basketball teams.

Gilas swept Group A after pulling away to take down the hosts. Meanwhile, in an unbelievable display of heart, Perlas overcame a 12-point fourth quarter deficit to stun Thailand and keep their gold medal chances alive.

Gilas Pilipinas 98 – Malaysia 66

Gilas started the night by formalizing their entry to the SEA Games men’s basketball semi-finals after running over the host nation.

The final score may look lopsided but Gilas did have a shaky start, yielding to Malaysia a 20-18 lead after the opening quarter.

Christian Standhardinger led the Philippines to a superb start, scoring 10 points on an array of moves inside the paint which gave Gilas a 13-4 lead. But Malaysia was able to settle. Aided by their zone defense and the offense of Kuek Tian Yuan and Teo Kok Hou, Malaysia went on a huge tear to steal the lead.

But Gilas adjusted well against the zone, jumpstarting their offensive sets on top of the key to find breakdowns in the defense. Kiefer Ravena was a big reason for how the Philippines was able to transform the game as he kept attacking the middle. Not long after, Gilas’ other guards followed suit.

Gilas took a double-digit advantage into the locker room with Ravena having three of the four team assists by halftime. The lead would grow to as high as 35 points in the fourth quarter.

Not even the ejections to Carl Bryan Cruz and Baser Amer halfway in the third quarter could bring Malaysia any closer. The decision to throw them off started when Kuek and Kevin Ferrer’s arms got locked; Amer, Troy Rosario, and Cruz entered the picture to pacify the situation while Malaysia’s Ivan Yeo also got involved. Surprisingly, Kuek and Yeo stayed in the game.

Standhardinger powered the nationals with an 18-point, 18-rebound double-double, shooting 60 percent from the floor. Kobe Paras added 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and eight boards. Five players finished in double-digits for Gilas. The team shot 39 percent from deep.

Kuek led Malaysia with 14 points off the bench while Ting Chun Hong added 10 markers.

Gilas will play either Singapore or Vietnam in the semi-finals.

Perlas Pilipinas 69 – Thailand 67

Perlas capped the night with a scintillating comeback over rival Thailand, overcoming a huge fourth quarter deficit to steal the win. The dramatic turn of events enabled Perlas to them in the running for a gold medal finish.

Perlas was down 65-53 in the fourth quarter when they went on to trap Thailand in the backcourt. The pressure defense paid off for Perlas as they forced turnovers and tied the game.

Ara Abaca first scored four of the next six Perlas points; Chack Cabinbin nailed two charities before picking up a steal and dishing it to Allana Lim. Another steal by Janine Pontejos leading to a fastbreak lay-up knotted the count at 65 apiece under two minutes left.

A bucket underneath the rim by Naruemol Banmoo gave Thailand the upperhand anew, but Analyn Almazan canned in two more free throws to tie again. After a miss from Thailand which sailed out of bounds, Perlas called a timeout to set up the next play.

Cabinbin timed it perfectly, waiting for the shot clock to go down before driving, drawing the defense, and then dishing to Lim for an easy basket. Thailand was unable to answer with six seconds remaining as the Philippines escaped.

Lim had 16 points, Almazan chipped in a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds to go along with four steals, while Pontejos added 14 markers.

After Indonesia lost to Malaysia the other day, Perlas remains in a good position to win a gold although they will need to sweep the rest of the way and hope that Indonesia falls to Thailand as well.

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