Gilas walks the tightrope vs. Singapore, makes finals anyway

August 25, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR – The Philippines encountered a inspired Singaporean side as its best ever, and the Gilas cadets needed to work extra hard to pull off a 68-60 decision and make the gold-medal match of the 29th SEA Games men’s basketball competition at the MABA Stadium here Friday night.

The Gilas cadets banked heavily on Christian Standhardinger, TNT KaTropa forward Troy Rosario and Meralco guard Mike Tolomia to survive the scare and reach the finale either against Thailand or Indonesia at 8:15 p.m. Saturday.

“We wanted a blowout but couldn’t do it,” said Gilas coach Jong Uichico.

“But a win is a win. We’ll forget about the game and look forward to playing the game for the gold. I’m still thankful we got to the finals,” Uichico added.

Standhardinger delivered yet another double-double game with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Rosario came up with 14 markers and 10 boards in his own double-double outing while Tolomia banged away 10 to lead the Gilas cadets that struggled badly to break Singapore’s tough-as-nail defense.

“We thought they would play us zone but they played as straight man-to-man. We’d been playing against the zone the whole tournament, and we probably lost our man-to-man rhythm,” rued Uichico.

The Gilas bench chieftain, a former national player and a coach that has handled Team Phl in the Asian Games, in the SEABA and in a previous SEA Games, couldn’t remember a Singapore team that had fought the Philippines the same way.
“It’s always a blowout,” he said.

The Filipinos gained some breathing room on the decisive seven-to-nothing binge by Bobby Ray Parks, Standhardinger and Tolomia, 60-48, but the Singaporeans still made them to work hard to the very end.

The Singaporeans stood proud despite the loss.

“We’ve got a good game plan. Playing certain way gives you a chance. We’re learning. Maybe one day we’ll realize our dream of beating the best,” said Singapore coach Franco Arsego.
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“We always come with a lot of respect to the Philippines. It’s always something special. It’s always a privilege to play the best. You’ve got to play the best to be the best. I can’t say enough of the boys,” Arsego also said, elated at their great showing against the Filipinos.

The Filipinos won’t de denied in the end, though.

The scores:
Philippines 68 – Rosario 14, Standhardinger 13, Tolomia 10, Amer 8, Paras 7, Ravena 5, Parks 4, Pessumal 4, Ferrer 2, Cruz 1, Jose 0, Vosotros 0.

Singapore 60 – Low 14, Wong 12, Kwek 8, Liew 6, Ng 6, Folkoff 6, Goh 6, Chia 2.

Quarterscores: 15-12, 32-24, 49-42, 68-60