Sinag just a win away from basketball gold



10 a.m. – Indonesia vs. PHILIPPINES
4 p.m. – Malaysia vs. PHILIPPINES

SINAG Pilipinas is now just another win away from formally completing its mission in the 27th SEA Games basketball competitions here.

Marcus Douthit notched 11 points and as many rebounds while Kiefer Ravena came off the bench for 10 points in leading the Filipinos past Indonesia, 83-52, Saturday that practically spelled the crown at the Zaya Thiri Indoor Stadium.

Another victory over Malaysia Sunday and Sinag will have completed a six-game sweep of the field and the Philippines can rack up a 16th cage title in the biennial meet.

The Filipinos can actually afford to lose to the Malaysians (3-2) and Thailand, 73-69 winner over the 1989 titlists later Saturday, can catch up at 5-1 at tournament’s end Monday. But Sinag will still claim the title via the winner-over-the-other rule due to its 100-68 drubbing of the Thais last Friday.

Yet head coach Jong Uichico still wants his charges to go all out against a Malaysian team that is out of the medal hunt.

Uichico even did his final homework. “Malaysia is very tall, but not very athletic,” he noted. “That causes them to rely more on their post game.”

Sinag has a counter in Marcus Douthit, who laced his best all-around game thus far in the competitions with two assists and as many steals against Indonesia. He scored just two of his points in the second half but that hardly mattered.

With less than 24 hours to refresh following the Thailand game, the Filipinos actually started out flat and even saw themselves tied at 18 after the first quarter.

A 12-0 surge behind Mac Belo (nine points, five rebounds, three steals) and Jake Pascual (eight points, four rebounds) put Sinag ahead for good, 30-18.

Indonesia crept within 40-34 at the half, but a massive 14-4 blast extended the Philippine lead up to 58-38, before capping the quarter with a three-point play from Ravena and a fast break basket by Matt Ganuelas off a Belo steal that made it 67-43, heading into the final 10 minutes.

“Medyo mabagal ang umpisa, pero naka-recover din eventually,” said Uichico.
Perlas Pilipinas goes up against Indonesia at 10 a.m. (11:30 a.m. Manila time) gunning for a second win in three games.

The scores:

Philippines 83 – Douthit 11, Ravena 10, Belo 9, Ferrer 9, Alas 8, Ganuelas 8, J. Pascual 8, Parks 7, Sumang 6, Cruz 4, Lanete 3, R. Pascual 0.

Indonesia 52 – Prawiro 14, Sitepu 11, Gemilang 6, Pamungkas 6, Putra 5, Dhyaksa 3, Siregar 3, Gunawan 2, Utomo 2, Nugroho 0.

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