SINGAPORE – Days before their departure to Singapore, national team skipper Kiefer Ravena promised one thing to his countrymen – win the gold for the Philippines in the men’s basketbal division of the 28th Southeast Asian Games or not go home at all to their native land.
Although it may be extreme for some, this is an understandable statement. For several years, the Philippines is considered to be the strongest and most formidable team in the region in terms of basketball competition.
Judging from the first three games, the team of Gilas cadets were cruising along the competition with breakout wins against all of their openents. However, the powerhouse squad got a scare in the semi-finals match against Thailand on Sunday.
Head coach Tab Baldwin got big performances from emerging big man Troy Rosario who finished with 27 points and deadly sniper Almond Vosotros who led the gutsy comeback of Gilas Pilipinas cadets after being down by 10 points at the half. The reliable De La Salle Green Archers guard finished with 18 points.
But when it boiled down to the dying seconds of the game, the man who promised the gold for the country came out to play. Ravena hit a clutch three point shot with only 16.5 seconds left to propel the Philippines ahead against the resilient Thais.
This led to the 80-75 victory for the Philippines to book a seat in the Finals against Indonesia on Monday, 8pm.