Gilas Pilipinas Men’s redemption bid will have to go through the same nation that ended their 33-year run on top of the Southeast Asian Games.
Indonesia secured top seed in its pool after ripping Thailand, 87-69, on Sunday at Morodok Techo Stadium in Cambodia.
With the win, Indonesia will face the Philippines in the knockout semifinals on Monday.
Naturalized players Lester Prosper — who is formerly the import of Terrafirma — and Jerome Beane led Indonesia’s rally from an early deficit, pouring 20 and 18 points, respectively to complete a sweep of their pool.
On a tear has been Indonesia so far, also routing Laos (141-37) before escaping Vietnam, 88-82, in the pool stages.
Holdovers from the team that defeated Gilas last year are Andakara Prastawa, Yudha Saputera, Juan Laurent Kokodiputra, and Vincent Kosasih.
Though Marques Bolden was not fielded this time around, Indonesia has three naturalized players, namely Prosper, Beane, and 17-year-old Dame Diagne.
Gilas cannot afford to lose to Indonesia this time around as the Philippines has never finished outside of the top two in the regional meet.
Head coach Chot Reyes hopes that the team has gotten used to the heat at Elephant Hall 2, which became an issue during the Cambodia game where they lost.
“Again, the heat in the 1 p.m. game is different from the 5 p.m. game especially if the stadium is full. Again, that was the problem that we had (against Cambodia). Hopefully, we have adjusted better for the semifinals,” said Reyes.
Thailand will face Cambodia in the other bracket.