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Philippines celebrate 17th basketball gold

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The Philippine’s Men’s Basketball Team was showered in a spray of gold confetti as they took home the SEA Games Basketball Gold for the 17th time after a 72-64 win in their finals match against Indonesia.

basketball Team Philippines celebrates after successfully defending their gold title. Photo: Gavin Lee / SINGSOC

Though the Gilas Cadets were expected to snag the crown, their match against Indonesia became tense in the third quarter when their 13-point lead diminished to just 6 points due to a scoring streak from Indonesia. The Indonesians got as close as a 3-point gap, but Philippines held on to their lead and took away the victory.

Rey Mark Belo of the Philippines was a star player tonight, scoring 22 points with just 17 minutes of playing time, leading all scores in the final match.

Philippines Coach Tab Baldwin dedicates the win to their Filipino fans, saying “We want them to wake up tomorrow morning with something to smile about.”

basketball Indonesia’s Mario Belo scored 7 points for his team, but it was not enough to overcome the incumbent champions Philippines. Photo: Brandon Wong / SINGSOC

After their loss, Indonesia’s Mario Wuysang reflected, “it was a tough game. We knew coming in, that they (Philippines) were favourites. But we fought our hearts out to make our country proud. We’re here to represent our families, the people we love, and we did our best.” Indonesia settles for silver but it was a better finish compared to the last two editions of the SEA Games.

Singapore edge Thailand for bronze

In the bronze medal match earlier today, Thailand could not overcome Singapore despite the Singapore team being two players down – losing with a score of 49-54.

Thailand led the first half 31-25, but Singapore fought back hard in the second half – particularly in the fourth quarter where Singapore outscored Thailand 16-8. That was enough for Singapore to turn the game around, surging past Thailand and holding on to the lead till the end

Singapore’s bronze medal defense was uncertain following the injury of Lim Sheng Yu and key player Captain Desmond Oh from the semifinals match the day before. Desmond sat out of the match today with a neck brace, but was proud of his team’s performance. “I’m always the one there to give them advice, to tell them (the team) what to do, and they always prove to me that they can do it even without me. I’m really, really proud of them.”

basketball Point guard Wong Wei Long’s performance today as an important factor in their match win. Photo: Gavin Lee / SINGSOC

Singapore’s key player of the night was sharp shooter Larry Liew, who contributed 18 points to his team’s advantage before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Point guard Wong Wei Long also stepped up his game and scored 13 points with 6 rebounds and 6 assists; both players totaled more than half of Singapore’s final score. Delvin Goh sunk 6 out of his 8 free throws, turning suspense into roaring enthusiasm from the home crowd.

Thailand won the silver in the 2013 Games and has only missed the podium twice before in the history of the games. Sukhdave Ghogar, who led his team with 10 points and 9 rebounds today, said that the team was tired after their semifinals match with Philippines the day before. He added, “And today, playing with the host… Nothing went our way. So it was hard for us.”

basketball Malaysian women’s basketball team and 2015 SEA Games gold medallists posing for the cameras as they wait for the victory ceremony to commence. Photo: Jaclynn Seah / SINGSOC

The women’s round robin basketball matches wrapped up today with Malaysia topping the table after a 82-50 win over Vietnam. Though they were tied with Indonesia, Malaysia beat them on goal difference and took home the gold. Indonesia takes home the silver while Thailand settles for the bronze.

This authors of this article are volunteer content producers with Team Nila. For more content produced by Team Nila, please head to the 28th SEA Games Social Wall.

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