Singapore, Gilas, Malaysia continue domination after day 5
Singapore dominated Myanmar, Malaysia scraped by Vietnam and Gilas Pilipinas throttled Thailand at the SEABA Championship 2017 games.
In the first game, Singapore leaned on their best kept secret, teenage giant V Lavin Raj, who wowed the crowd with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, to beat Myanmar, 85-32. The 16-year-old 2.00m center had not seen a minute of action before Singapore played Myanmar, but coach Frank Arsego called his number up today. He delivered in spades, making 6 out of his 9 field goals and all 7 of his free throws. He filled in the void left by resident middle man Delvin Goh, whom coach Arsego chose to preserve for the last two days of competition where they face Thailand and Vietnam.
Aside from Raj, Leon Kwek, Lyon Chia and Johrathon Cheok also did well with a combined 34 points. Myanmar remained winless after 4 games, and they were paced by Aung Wana and Thein Han, who tossed in 11 points apiece.
The day’s second game was the tournament’s first overtime thriller. Upstarts Vietnam defied expectations and nearly sprung an upset, but they fell just short in the end, 86-85, to Malaysia. Choo Wei Hong hit the marginal basket from midrange to break the Vietnamese team’s hearts and net for his own team their second win of the competition. Ting Chun Hong came up big for Malaysia with 28 points and 4 assists, while Choo added 20 points and 9 boards. Heng Yee Tong also impressed with a dozen points.
Vietnam came oh so close to win number 2, but they’ll take pride in the fact they pushed a team that featured some of Malaysia’s fast rising stars. Han Minh Trieu and Nguyen Van Hung paced the losing side with 20 and 16 points respectively.
In the day’s last matchup, Thailand were able to stick to the Philippines for one whole quarter before the Filipinos flipped the switch and broke the game open in the second quarter. Behind the heroics of Teerawat Chanthachon, the Thais trailed by just 4 points, 18-14, after the first period, but the second unit of Gilas Pilipinas, who were led by high flying Japeth Aguilar, pounced on Thailand’s numerous errors in the second quarter to build a double-digit spread that the home squad would never relinquish. Coach Chot Reyes’s wards eventually booked their fourth win in as many games, 108-53.
Aguilar was in beast mode for this one, scoring 23 points on a flawless 10-of-10 field goal shooting. He also added 5 rebounds and 2 emphatic blocked shots. Three other Philippine players scored in double-figures led by Calvin Abueva’s 15. Terrence Romeo and Andray Blatche each dropped 11 points, while the Thais saw Chanthachon finish with 16 points to go along with 7 boards.
This was the fourth win in a row for the Filipinos, who tied erstwhile idle Indonesia at the top of the team standings. The Thais fell to 3-2. They are now officially out of the running for a spot in the FIBA Asia Cup 2017, but they can still finish on the podium.
Myanmar open Day 6 with a clash against Indonesia right before Singapore face Thailand. The Philippines plunge into action against the Vietnamese in the main game.
Singapore beat Myanmar, 85-32
Malaysia beat Vietnam, 86-85
Philippines beat Thailand, 108-53