Gilas Pilipinas vs. Malaysia is going to be the main game of the third day of the 2017 SEABA championships. The Philippines are the favorites to go 3-0 on Sunday and head into their day off on Monday atop the standings. They are coming off a huge 113-66 win over Singapore on Saturday.
The energetic Calvin Abueva led Gilas Pilipinas in scoring with 16 points, while adding five rebounds and three assists. Naturalized Gilas Pilipinas player Andray Blatche also had a big game with 14 points, nine boards, two assists, and one steal.
Only Jayson Castro did not score any points for Gilas Pilipinas against Singapore. He played for 16 minutes but he missed the only shot he took. However, he added five assists to his tally to lead Gilas Pilipinas in that category.
Matthew Wright was named best player of the game as he tallied 13 points while shooting 5-for-8 from the field and hitting two three-point shots. In an interview with SPIN.ph after the game, Wright admitted that Gilas Pilipinas did not play their best basketball against Singapore despite the 47-point win.
“I felt like the hustle stats in the first half, second half we came flat. Can’t have afford to have that. We have to learn how to have killer instinct and put our foot right from the get-go, no holding back and don’t give them a chance.”
Gilas Pilipinas with another dominant win in Seaba. pic.twitter.com/2ABx01L6Y5
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) May 13, 2017
As for Singapore, they were led by Larry Liew with 14 points, two rebounds, and two assists. The Singaporeans are the fastest rising team in ASEAN, but they have been playing flat in their first two games in the 2017 SEABA Championships.
It was the second win in a row for Gilas Pilipinas. They slaughtered Myanmar on Friday 147-40, showcasing their muscle and proving that the talent between the Philippines and the rest of ASEAN countries is still far apart. Nevertheless, the Filipinos are not going to take their foot off the pedal en route to the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup.
On the other hand, Malaysia is coming off a second straight loss on Saturday. They were defeated by Indonesia 63-42 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Malaysia shot terribly from the field as Indonesia pulled away late to take the win. Chun Hong Ting put up 16 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals for Malaysia.
The Malaysians also put up a great first game on Friday against Thailand, another undefeated team in the 2017 SEABA championships. Malaysia has to put a much better performance if they want to upset Gilas Pilipinas on Sunday.
— ABS-CBN News Sports (@ABSCBNNewsSport) May 13, 2017
According to Noel Zarate of Sports 5, Malaysia has been improving in the past two years from a basketball standpoint. They have been learning a lot in the Philippines and they boast players that suited up for Westports Malaysia Dragons of the ASEAN Basketball League and Blustar Detergent of the PBA D-League. Gilas Pilipinas is a much stronger team, but Malaysia can give other teams a good, competitive game.
“The Malaysians learned a lot from their training here in the Philippines over the last two years and could make it interesting for the other countries involved. But it would take Herculean effort for them to even come close to the juggernaut that is Gilas and still lack the necessary tools to repeat what they did in 1989.”
Matthew Wright of Gilas Pilipinas, the best player against Singapore, will have a lot of experience against Malaysia since he played with some of the players on their roster with Westports in the ABL. He is surely looking forward, just like everyone else, for the Gilas Pilipinas vs. Malaysia matchup.
Gilas Pilipinas vs. Malaysia is scheduled on Day 3 of the 2017 SEABA Championships on Sunday, May 14, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Fans in attendance can watch the game live at 7 p.m. PST (7 a.m. ET) while those around the world can also watch it online via live streaming at Sports 5 Live.
[Featured Image by Miguel Angel Morenatti/AP Photo]