Gilas Pilipinas killed two birds with one stone during its crucial match against Indonesia.
Aside from extracting revenge at the same squad that dislodged it from the top during the previous staging of the SEA Games, the Philippine national men’s basketball team clinched a Finals ticket and will have a chance to get back at their elimination round tormentor and more importantly reclaim the gold.
The Filipinos trailed most of the way but delivered when it mattered the most to steal the game from an unsuspecting Indonesian side, 84-76, Monday night at the Elephant Hall 2 of the Morodok Techno National Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Justin Brownlee responded to the call and scored a game-high 34 points including 8 in a crucial stretch wherein Gilas established a 4-point advantage, 78-74, after trailing by 4, 70-74, with 2:15 left on the game clock. The 35-year old, 3-time PBA Best Import awardee shot 5-of-11 from beyond the arc and also contributed 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in 35 minutes of play.
“The important thing now is we’re able to keep him fresh. Hopefully, his body is acclimatizing to the heat, but also the suffocating denseness of the air,” said Gilas head coach Chot Reyes on Brownlee.
“Hopefully, that (improved form) continues tomorrow. Again, we need him at his best tomorrow,” he added.
Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser added 13 points while Arvin Tolentino finished with 10. Marcio Lassiter and Jerom Lastimosa chipped in 9 markers apiece.
Gilas will try to complete its redemption drive when it clashes with host Cambodia for the gold on Tuesday, May 16, 4:00pm at the same venue.
Philippines 84 – Brownlee 34, Ganuelas-Rosser 13, Tolentino 10, Lassiter 9, Lastimosa 9, Newsome 4, Ross 2, Perez 2, Standhardinger 1, Phillips 0.
Indonesia 76 – Prosper 26, Beane 12, Prastawa 9, Jawato 8, Gemilang 6, Kokodiptura 3, Kosasih 2, Saputera 1, Arighi, Teja 0.
Quarterscores: 34-20, 45-38, 65-60, 84-76.