LIVING up to its billing as the favorite, the Philippines swept the 3×3 basketball titles on Monday at The Arena in San Juan, adding the mints disputed in the debuting event to the growing number of gold medals that could propel the Filipinos to the overall title in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Gilas Pilipinas, as the men’s squad is known, outclassed Vietnam 21-9 while the host nation’s women’s squad got back at Thailand 17-3 to dominate the event closest to the hearts of Filipinos.
Regular basketball action is set to start on Wednesday.
Gilas scored the first eight points en route to a 13-5 lead and all but clinched the crown when Moala Tautuaa drilled a basket with still 3:14 to play. Completing the men’s squad are Chris Newsome, CJ Perez, and Jason Perkins.
The Gilas women battled Thailand to a 5-all count early on before going on a 10-1 tear for a 16-6 count. Afril Bernardino had seven points in the decisive run as the Filipinas avenged a 20-22 defeat at the hands of the Thais in the eliminations.
Malaysia took the women’s bronze medal with a 21-7 win over Vietnam while Vietnam beat Thailand 21-27 for the men’s bronze medal.
The Gilas women beat Vietnam in the semifinals 21-12 while Thailand avenged their elimination loss to Malaysia via a 16-14 win to advance to the gold medal match.
Gilas Pilipinas finished the tourney undefeated in eight matches, counting its 21-22 win over Thailand in the semifinals. Indonesia earned the right to face the Philippines in the men’s finals by scoring a 20-18 victory over Vietnam in the semis.
Gilas Pilipinas completed a sweep of its elimination round games with a 21-6 win over Cambodia but the women’s squad lost to Thailand 20-22 in overtime.
Perkins used his heft to score 12 points as Gilas Pilipinas surged to its sixth straight win and advanced to the semifinals against Thailand, which finished as the No. 4 squad in the eliminations.
Earlier, Tautuaa imposed his huge frame and scored nine points as Gilas scored a 21-12 victory over Malaysia.
The Filipinas suffered a heartbreaker in their last match in the eliminations, bowing to Thailand for a 4-1 record. Despite the defeat, the Filipinas topped the elims and will take on No. 4 Vietnam in the semifinals. Thailand takes on Malaysia in the other semis battle.
Afril Bernardino sent the match into overtime on a putback but the Thais completed a perfect play after gaining ball possession on a toss coin.