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E-Gilas back at the top, rules FIBA Esports Open III
E-Gilas Pilipinas
STAR/File

E-Gilas back at the top, rules FIBA Esports Open III

John Bryan Ulanday (Philstar.com) - April 18, 2021 - 7:40pm

MANILA, Philippines – E-Gilas Pilipinas reclaimed the Southeast Asian Conference title after surviving a feisty challenge from rival Indonesia in the thrilling finale of the FIBA Esports Open III Sunday night.

Contrary to their easy wins in the preliminary and semifinal, the Nationals figured in a close match but still came out on top to earn a hard-fought sweep of the best-of-three championship, 60-53, 44-36.

The Filipinos went unbeaten in six games overall for their second FIBA title in three editions so far after pocketing the inaugural event last June. They settled for a runner-up finish in the second edition against Australia last November.

Aljon “Shintarou” Cruzin once again starred for e-Gilas, scoring 11 of in the team’s 13-5 closeout to flip a 47-48 deficit in the last three minutes for a slim series opener win.

The Philippines then turned to defense in the low scoring Game Two, allowing only 36 points to keep its mastery of Indonesia after a 5-0 sweep in the first FIBA tourney last year.

Rial Polog Jr., Philippe Herrero, Custer Galas and Arnie Sison also threw in solid contributions as E-Gilas regained its rightful throne in the region.

The Philippines previously scored massive victories in the group phase against Vietnam, 78-40, and Maldives, 124-30 before sweeping Mongolia in the semis, 95-35, 64-58.

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