|Gilas Pilipinas goes back-to-back in SEA Games women's 5x5 basketball golds. PSC-POC Pool (file photo)|
MANILA--Gilas Pilipinas stays on as the Southeast Asian Games women's 5x5 basketball champion after clinching the gold with a game to spare.
Gilas could have strived to clinch the gold on its own in its Sunday game against Malaysia, but host country Vietnam gave them a favor by stunning the Malaysian squad, 69-65, in the Saturday nightcap at the Thanh Tri District Sporting Hall in Hanoi.
Malaysia needed the win against Vietnam to salvage their flickering hopes of winning it all, but the latter formally shut the door on the former's gold medal bid with the home win.
Malaysia started the game with a solid defensive performance, where it held Vietnam to just 10 first-quarter points.
However, the Vietnamese side slowly turned things around in the next two periods and took a 54-49 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Malaysia tried to stay in the game as they rallied from a nine-point deficit and cut it down to two, 65-67, with 33 seconds left.
However, Thao Vy Truong scored on a dagger jumper with 12 seconds remaining that sealed the outcome of the game.
Despite her field goal struggles, Truong led Vietnam, which boosted its hopes of joining Gilas and silver medalist Indonesia at the podium with 22 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and two blocks.
Thi Tieu Nguyen added 11 points, six rebounds, one assist, three steals, and one block.
Yap Fook Yee made 22 points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block, while Pang Hui Pin added 13 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists for Malaysia.
Both Vietnam and Malaysia are now tied for third place at 2-2, but Vietnam gets the tiebreaker over Malaysia with this win, putting them in a strong position to win the bronze medal.
Gilas can return the favor and give Vietnam the bronze by beating Malaysia at 10 a.m. Sunday (Philippine Time).
Malaysia must beat Gilas and hope that Vietnam loses to Thailand later in the day to steal the bronze.
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