The Philippine national men’s basketball team got stunned by Singapore’s pesky play but did just enough to hack out a 68-60 victory and enter the gold medal match of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games basketball tournament on Friday at MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The heavily favored Gilas Pilipinas failed to cruise past the Singaporeans who were able to stay within striking distance until the fourth quarter. However, the Filipinos, despite shooting an atrocious 3-for-22 from downtown, had more tools in the end-game to pick up the semifinal win.
With the result, the Philippines, seeking its 17th gold in the biennial event, now awaits the winner of the other semifinal matchup between Thailand and Indonesia. The final is slated on Saturday.
Troy Rosario paced Gilas Pilipinas with a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards as Christian Standhardinger tallied 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Mike Tolomia finished with 10 points, seven of which came in the final quarter where Gilas Pilipinas needed it most.
Gilas Pilipinas looked on its way to thumping Singapore in the first half after releasing 10 unanswered points to grab a 32-21 lead in the second quarter.
Singapore however managed to trim it to just eight at the break, 32-24.
Gilas Pilipinas built its biggest lead at 15, 41-26, after a 9-2 run highlighted by Standhardinger’s slam with 5:55 left in the third frame.
But Singapore didn’t go away easily as its solid defense and some crafty offensive moves allowed the squad to trim Gilas Pilipinas’ lead to just seven, 49-42, heading into the final quarter.
Singapore came to within five, 51-46, in the fourth quarter but Tolomia sparked an 11-4 spurt that handed the Filipinos a 62-50 lead.
But the Singaporeans weren’t done yet as it managed to cut the deficit to eight, 64-56, with 1:59 remaining. However, time wasn’t enough for them to complete the comeback as Gilas Pilipinsa dodged the upset axe.