The Philippines basketball team managed to see off a gritty Singapore side to advance into the final after defeating them 68-60 on Friday (25 August) at the MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
While the Gilas cadets never trailed from start to finish, it was a pretty close game. Singapore managed to keep themselves in the game thanks to some great defence and crucial buckets from Russel Low and Wong Wei Long.
Low had 14 points in the game, with 10 coming in the second half. Wong had 12 points, including two crucial three-pointers in the second half. However, he shot just 4-of-15 from the field overall.
As a team, Singapore shot 40 per cent.
Philippines on the other hand, shot just 38 per cent and made just three of their 22 three-point shot attempts – an ugly 13 per cent conversion rate.
But they were led by Troy Rosario’s 14 points and Christian Hardinger’s 13 points. Both big men had double-doubles too, pulling down 10 and 11 boards respectively.
The Gilas had started the game at a fast pace, opening the quarter with a 10-3 lead in the first seven minutes, but allowed Singapore to claw things back to 15-12 in the following three minutes.
Gilas then extended the lead to eight points at the break after they went on a 10-2 run to close out the second quarter.
The lead ballooned to 15 points midway through the third period, but if the Philippines thought they could run away with it, they did not anticipate Singapore’s comeback.
Singapore fought back strongly, and with just six minutes to go in the fourth, came to within five points against the undisputed kings of basketball in Southeast Asia thanks to some crucial baskets from Russel Low.
That was as close as it would come though. A turnover from Delvin Low with the deficit at just nine saw Cris Tolomia drain a three with less than five minutes to go, and Philippines would go on to secure the victory.
The final will be played on Saturday (26 Aug).