Gilas, Thais face off for SEABA crown

Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Gilas cadet team and Thailand, having sized up each other in a non-bearing match Thursday night, face off in a real battle today, 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 of 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 and 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.


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