Real SEABA battle begins for Gilas cadets, Thais

Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran - The Philippine Star
Real SEABA battle begins for Gilas cadets, Thais
Kevin Ferrer of the Gilas cadet pool (second from right), sticks to his Thai assignment as head coach Nash Racela (left) during a nonbearing match of the Stankovic Cup. They meet again Saturday for the gold medal match.
MThai.com / SEABA Photo
MANILA, Philippines – The Gilas cadet team and Thailand, having sized up one another in a nonbearing match Thursday night, face off in a real battle Saturday, disputing the crown in the 2016 SEABA Stankovic Cup in Bangkok.
The Gilas cadets went through the proverbial eye of the needle, banking on back-to-back three-pointers by Chris Tolomia and Kevin Ferrer down the stretch to squeak past the Thais, 66-65, in the last game of the elims.
“That was a tough one. The Thai team is well prepared and very experienced. (But) great show of character by our young guys despite open shots not falling,” said Team PHL assistant coach Josh Reyes on his Twitter account.
“Defense got this one for us. The game that really counts though is on Saturday. We’ve got to adjust and be ready,” Reyes added.
“Good win and keeping the record clean. Learn from this win and make Saturday a Golden Day,” said Gilas coach Tab Baldwin on his own Twitter account.
The Filipinos and the Thais clash in the gold-medal game at 3 p.m. (4 p.m. in Manila), succeeding the fight for third place at 1 p.m. between Singapore and Malaysia.
Regardless who wins the crown, both finalists are assured of spots in the FIBA Asia Challenge in Tehran, Iran late this year.
Troy Rosario and his teammates have seen how tough the Thais are in their one-point escape win Thursday.
They were on the brink of defeat when Tolomia and Ferrer banged in three-pointers that they really had to make.
Curiously, the Filipinos were 1-of-35 from beyond the arc before Tolomia and Ferrer drained their game-saving treys.
Roger Pogoy was 0-of-7, Mac Belo 0-of-5, Rosario 0-of-4, Von Pessumal 0-of-3, Almond Vosotros 0-of-3 while Jiovani Jalalon 0-of-2.
Team Phl rode on Rosario’s and Belo’s perimeter shooting to stay in the game. Rosario top scored with 20 points that went with 10 rebounds while Belo came through with 18 markers and seven boards.
Tolomia also had solid numbers with nine points and the same number of assists while Raymar Jose contributed 12 rebounds and one assist, one steal and one block.
The Thais, under British coach Tim Lewis, proved a tough nut to crack, having efficient players on all spots.
Forward Chitchai Ananti produced double-double numbers with 14 points and 10 rebounds while gunner Nakorn Jaisanuk hit 3-of-5 triples and finished with 12 markers.





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