Gilas Cadets nearly falter but hold on against Thailand

By Ivan Saldajeno

SINGAPORE--The Philippines has been known as a Southeast Asian basketball powerhouse, and many still think the Philippine national team is invincible regionally.

On Sunday night, it may have changed.

The Gilas Cadets had to fight back from a huge halftime deficit to eliminate Thailand, 80-75, in the semifinals of the SEA Games basketball competition at the OCBC Arena, assuring them of at least a silver medal.

The Thais stepped on the gas in the first half, opening a 43-33 lead against the Filipinos that visibly stunned the crowd. Adding to the Gilas Cadets' problems was that Marcus Douthit injured his ankle and they got into foul trouble.

But Almond Vosotros sparked a huge third quarter comeback for the Cadets, firing four triples to help them take a 59-56 lead entering the final frame.

Thailand stayed in the ballgame, but Kiefer Ravena iced the win with a three-pointer with 16.2 seconds left.

Troy Rosario finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds, while Vosotros added 18 for the Gilas Cadets, who will take on the winner of the Singapore-Indonesia game, which is ongoing as of posting.

Box Scores:

Philippines 80—Rosario 27, Vosotros 18, Ravena 12, Ferrer 7, Khobuntin 5, Douthit 4, Belo 4, Amer 3, Thompson 0, Jalalon 0, Torres 0, Rivero 0

Thailand 75—Muangboon 15, Kruatiwa 15, Dasom 12, Apiromvilaichai 11, Ghogar 9, Samerjai 7, Chanthachon 4, Kongkum 2, Lertmalaiporn 0

Quarterscores: 14-22, 33-43, 59-56, 80-75