The semi-final match-up for the men’s basketball event sees the top three teams from 2013 alongside Indonesia fighting for the gold medal. Here is a preview of each team and their key players to watch out for.
Men’s Semis 1: PHILIPPINES vs THAILAND
Defending champion Philippines easily swept aside the competition to emerge top of Group A, beating second place Indonesia by 29 points and trouncing Malaysia and Timor Leste with 100 and 126 goals respectively. With an impressive record of Golds in all but one SEA Games final, the Filipinos hope to continue their winning streak by clinching their 17th Gold.
Team Captain Kiefer Ravena and naturalised center Marcus Douthit will lead the charge when they play against Thailand. Players Kevin Ferrer, Almond Vosotros and Jeth Troy Rosario are also some key players expected to score big for the Philippines.
Meanwhile Thailand faces a tough road to defend their silver title in the 2013 games when they meet Philippines who beat them 100-64 then. The Thailand team will need to rally when they face the Philippines powerhouse during this semi-finals match-up. The tandem of Danai Kongkum and Darongpan Apiromvilaichai will be one to look out for. Kongkum scored 12 points while Apiromvilaichai contributed 13 points during their match against Singapore.
Kiefer Ravena (#4) and Marcus Douthit (#11) will lead the Philippines’ campaign for a place in the Finals. Photo: Von Samonte / SINGSOC
Men’s Semis 2: INDONESIA vs SINGAPORE
The Indonesians ranked second in Group A after winning a crucial match against Malaysia by a narrow margin 67-59, a sweet revenge for their loss in the 2013 games. The towering pair of co-captains Putra Adhipratama Prasetyo and Sitepu Christian Ronaldo at 2m and 1.97m respectively will spearhead their team to better their bronze medal finishing from the 2011 games with a win in the semi-finals. Impressive scoring from key player Dhyakasa Andakara Prastawa, who recorded 14 points during their match against Malaysia, will boost their chance for a finals berth.
Their opponents Singapore will not make this easy, proving that they are a force to be reckoned with as they edged out Thailand last night in a highly intense preliminaries match with a 65-58 score to top Group B. Russel Low proves he can deliver big points when it matters, adding 13 points during the said match. With the home crowd on their side and Team Captain Desmond Oh’s shooting consistency, scoring in the last two games at 16pts and 17pts, Singapore might spell trouble for Indonesia for a place in the finals.
Motivated as the Singapore team are, Head Coach Neo Beng Siang emphasised that they still need to improve on their game to score another win. “The other thing we are lacking slightly is on the offensive rebound,” he said during his post-match interview against Thailand.
The semi-final round starts tomorrow, June 14. Competition starts with Philippines facing Thailand at 6pm followed by the match between Singapore and Indonesia match at 8pm.
Team captain Desmond Oh (#2) and Russel Low (#15) are the key players for Singapore’s upcoming semi-final match. Photo: Von Samonte / SINGSOC
This author of this article is a volunteer content producer with Team Nila. For more content produced by Team Nila, please head to the 28th SEA Games Social Wall.