The Gilas Pilipinas Men’s basketball team will have their redemption bid tested by Indonesia, the team that ended their 33-year run on top of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, in the knockout semifinals on Monday, May 15.
Indonesia secured the top seed in their pool after defeating Thailand 87-69 on Sunday, with naturalized players Lester Prosper and Jerome Beane leading the team’s rally. Indonesia also routed Laos 141-37 and narrowly escaped Vietnam 88-82 in the pool stages.
Holdovers from last year’s team that defeated Gilas, including Andakara Prastawa, Yudha Saputera, Juan Laurent Kokodiputra, and Vincent Kosasih, will once again face off against the Philippines. Although Marques Bolden was not fielded this time around, Indonesia has three naturalized players, including 17-year-old Dame Diagne.
Gilas Pilipinas will have to be at their best against Indonesia, as the Philippines has never finished outside of the top two in the regional meet.
Coach Chot Reyes is optimistic that his team has acclimatized to the scorching heat in Elephant Hall 2, which affected their game against Cambodia resulting in a loss.
The Philippines redeemed themselves with a commanding 105-45 victory over Singapore, securing their spot in the semifinals of the tournament.
Marcio Lassiter delivered a standout performance, scoring 16 points, with four of those coming from beyond the arc on seven attempts. CJ Perez also exhibited an impressive display, contributing 13 points and 11 rebounds to the team’s triumph.
Meanwhile, Justin Brownlee chipped in 12 points, six rebounds, and eight assists, solidifying the team’s dominant win.
The team is banking on the lessons they’ve learned and the experience they’ve gained from their three games at the Modorok Techo National Stadium’s humid and linoleum-paved court to carry them to the finals.
Gilas will be relying on naturalized ace Justin Brownlee, who was shackled to just 10 points in their loss to Cambodia due to dehydration and cramping. Reyes assured that his staff has been devising ways to allow Brownlee to cope with the playing conditions at the venue after he struggled with dehydration and cramping during their defeat to Cambodia.
Meanwhile, the women’s team is also fighting for a podium finish, hoping to salvage a silver medal against perennial contender Malaysia. The team is giving it their all and sticking together like a family, according to their coach.
The semifinals of the SEA Games men’s basketball tournament will be a must-watch as Indonesia and the Philippines face off once again.
The Philippines will be looking for revenge, while Indonesia is determined to continue its impressive run in the competition. With naturalized players and strong holdovers from their championship team last year, Indonesia will pose a tough challenge for Gilas Pilipinas.
However, with a well-rested squad and a key victory over Singapore, the Philippines is eager to prove themselves and make it to the final.
With the men’s team seeking redemption against Indonesia, and the women’s team hoping to secure a silver medal, Filipino basketball fans have much to look forward to.