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Philippines retain basketball gold at Southeast Asian Games

Philippines retain basketball gold at Southeast Asian Games

“What a great group of guys they are,” Florida-born coach Tab Baldwin said.



By (Reuters)

Published: Tue 16 Jun 2015, 11:05 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:52 PM

Confetti falls on the court as the Philippines players celebrate winning the SEA Games gold medal. — Reuters

Confetti falls on the court as the Philippines players celebrate winning the SEA Games gold medal. — Reuters

Singapore — The Philippines continued their near monopoly on regional men’s basketball but not before they were given a huge scare by a plucky Indonesia side in an enthralling Southeast Asian Games gold medal game on Monday.

Forward Mark Rey Belo led the way with 22 points as the Gilas Pilipinas eked out a 72-64 victory at a packed OCBC Arena, delighting a predominantly Filipino crowd, who were able to celebrate a 17th victory in 18 SEA Games basketball tournaments.

“What a great group of guys they are,” Florida-born coach Tab Baldwin told reporters.

“This is a very valuable experience in my coaching career. I love this team, I love Philippines basketball and am so honoured to be a part of it and relieved we will take a gold medal home.”

The Philippines had thrashed Indonesia 81-52 in pool play last Wednesday and looked set for a similar resounding victory when they pulled 34-21 ahead midway through the second quarter as they dominated in the key and pulled down rebounds at will.

Perhaps complacent, the Philippines started to give away needless fouls and miss shot after shot, allowing Indonesia to rally to within five points early in the third quarter before a booming three-pointer from Almond Vosotros checked the rally.

Leading by 11 heading into the final 10-minute quarter, the Philippines were then guilty of taking on ambitious three-point attempts early on the shot clock as Indonesia rallied for a second time, reducing the deficit to just three points with five minutes remaining.

However, a breakaway dunk from Kiefer Ravena restored a five-point lead for the Philippines, who got a huge defensive rebound from Marcus Douthit with a minute to play as Belo sealed the win with a string of free throws in the closing seconds.


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