The Gilas Cadets find themselves in a totally unfamiliar scene, but willed through behind its big guns, who delivered in the clutch to avoid tragedy and clip a gutsy Thailand side, 80-75, Sunday in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball semi-final, in front of a packed OCBC Arena in Singapore.
Kiefer Ravena nailed a huge triple in the dying moments of the fourth that punctuated the Philippines comeback, allowing the team to advance in the gold medal round against the winner of the Singapore-Indonesia match.
The Philippines had a sloppy first half, receiving a huge scare and trailing by as much as 12, before facing a 33-43 deficit entering the halftime break.
Almond Vosotros, however, started to carry the nationals behind his hot sniping from downtown, hitting three after three, as the Gilas Cadets battled back and snatched the lead, 52-51.
It was a neck-and-neck affair after that point with Troy Rosario also providing the damage underneath. A triple by Vosotros broke a 59-all deadlock, although free throws from Thailand made it 64-63, Gilas lead, after Glenn Khobuntin was thrown out due to an altercation.
Vosotros, however, hit another trey to make it 67-63 before Troy Rosario scored three straight baskets to dodge whatever bullet Thailand fired.
A split by Rosario made it 76-73 before a layup from Thailand pulled the team within 1. Coming off the timeout, Ravena, then, hit a the dagger three to ice the game and preserve Gilas’ unblemished record.
Rosario scored 27 points, including 7 of the last 11 points of the Philippines, and hauled down 12 rebounds, while Vosotros fired 18 on 6-for-11 shooting from long range.
Ravena added 12 in the win that avoided humiliation for the nationals. The Philippines return to action tomorrow in the final.