• Gilas sweeps SEABA, bags gold medal

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    Gilas Pilipinas has proven its supremacy in the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship anew after crushing Indonesia, 97-64, to complete the six-game sweep on Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    The Filipinos left no doubt why they are still the kings of the hoops in the region with another solid performance that even a full-strength Indonesia squad could not handle.

    “We talked about national team history but I believe this is the right time for the new national team to write new history,” said Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes.

    Members of the Gilas Pilipinas celebrate after winning the Southeast Asia Basketball Association Championship on Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

    “We knew we’re going to be tested and we did a good job tonight. I remind the players to play the right way because we never know what might happen. We have to focus and do what must be done in the game,” he added.

    Naturalized player Andray Blatche saved his best game for last in the tournament, leading the home team with 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Philippines secured the lone seat in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup in Lebanon this August.

    Jayson Castro and June Mar Fajardo added 14 and 13 markers, respectively, for Gilas Pilipinas marking Reyes’ triumphant return at the helm of the national team after a three-year hiatus.

    Gilas Pilipinas was no doubt a cut above the rest as it won the tournament with an average winning margin of 58.7 points. It was the Philippines’ eighth SEABA title.

    Arki Wisnu had 11 points to lead the Indonesians, who annexed their fifth silver medal in the tournament. Indonesia’s naturalized player Jamarr Johnson had a quiet performance, finishing with just four markers on 2-of-6 shooting from the field.

    Meanwhile, Malaysia finished fourth after whipping Myanmar, 96-71. Zhi Shin Chin tallied 22 points and 13 rebounds while Heng Yee Thong and Hou Kok Teo contributed 12 and 11 markers, respectively, for Malaysia that ended its campaign in the tournament with a 3-3 mark.

    Myanmar was paced by Aung Wana whose 31 points did not stop the team from going winless after six matches in the seven-nation tournament.

    Singapore finished fifth after edging Vietnam, 73-70, to end the competition with a 2-4 slate. Delvin Goh led Singapore with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Leon Kwen Wei and Larry Huan Sen Liew also had 15 markers each.

    Vietnam, which drew a game-high 17 points from Minh Han Trieu, dropped to sixth spot with 1-5 card.

    Thailand bagged the bronze medal after finishing with a 4-2 slate.

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