Gilas Pilipinas joined in on the Team Philippines’ party in the Southeast Asian Games and delivered the most cherished gold for a nation that eats, drinks and breathes basketball.
Eyes on the prize, the fancied Filipino dribblers did what’s needed to be done to quell their last standing challenger, Thailand, 115-81, and deliver the plum that the host country simply couldn’t afford to miss out in this multi-sport joust on home ground.
“It seems like it was inevitable but in reality I was a bundle of nerves, all day long I was so nervous,” shared coach Tim Cone.
His agitation proved unfounded though as his all-pro squad was up to the task and steamrolled to the coveted crown that added further luster to record harvest of rampaging Philippine in other battlefields.
“The chemistry in this team is so strong The guys really looked for one another, cared for one another. What I liked most from this group is no one wanted to be the star and tried to outshine his teammates; they really worked together and were so unselfish,” said Cone of this all-veteran crew.
It was a concerted effort in the clincher they posted in front of 12,502 delighted home fans.
“It took us a while and a number of games to get going here. We usually felt our way in the first two quarters like in a boxing match but once we got our feet and legs going, we really took off and went for the knockout punch,” said Cone.
Philippines 115 – Fajardo 17, Standhardinger 16, Tenorio 16, Wright 14, Manuel 14, Pringle 13, Ravena 10, Ross 8, Lassiter 3, Rosario 2, Aguilar 2, Slaughter 0.
Thailand 81 – Lamb 33, Jakrawan 15, Sutisin 7, Leelapipatkul 7, Jainasuk 6, Chanthacon 6, Muangboon 3, Chungyampin, Langsui 1, Klahan 1, Apiromilaichai 0, Ananli 0.
Quarterscores: 25-17, 48-39, 88-54, 115-81.