BritAma Arena Sports Mall, Jakarta, Indonesia– The Pilipinas-Smart Gilas survived a slow start to beat the Malaysian Men’s Basketball Team 97-71 in its opening game at the 9th outheast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) men’s championship.
Trailing by 5 at the end of the first half, JV Casio of the Smart Gilas waxed hot and scored 15 points in the third canto to turn the 36-41 deficit into a 63-57 lead at the end of the 3rd quarter. The onslaught did not stop as Japeth Aguilar dominated the final period by scoring 8 points in the crucial 16-2 blast by the Gilas to pad its lead to 20 points. Smart Gilas then cruised to end the game with a margin of 26 points.
This tournament serves as the qualifier for the FIBA Asia Championship on Sept. 15 to 25 in Wuhan, China. The top 3 SEABA finishers will play in the FIBA Asia Championship where a slot in the 2012 Olympic Games is at stake.
caloycomment: It is a good start for a shorthanded national team that only brought 10 players in the tournament. The SouthEast Asian level tournament has been our playground for years and the Philippines are expected to win the tournament without so much of a challenge. The 5 point halftime deficit is no cause for concern because this is just their first game. My only hope is that no major injuries will happen to any player among the participating teams. Congrats Gilas!