Gilas Pilipinas vs. Thailand is one of the most anticipated games of the 2017 SEABA championships. The Philippines are still undefeated after three games while Thailand has a record of 3-1. Gilas Pilipinas is coming off a rest day but they are the heavy favorites to win the game.
In their game against Malaysia on Sunday, Gilas Pilipinas came away with the 106-51 win. It was the second-closest margin of victory for the Filipinos in the first three days of the 2017 SEABA championships. Gilas Pilipinas defeated Myanmar by 107 points and they pounded Singapore by 47 points.
Andray Blatche led Gilas Pilipinas against Malaysia by putting up 13 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Troy Rosario also had 13 points while Terrence Romeo had 12 points and seven assists. Matthew Wright added 12 points as every member of Gilas Pilipinas got on the score sheet.
As for Malaysia, Yee Tong Heng led the team with 12 points and two assists. Only one other Malaysian player reached double figures in scoring and it was Chun Hong Ting with 10 points. Gilas Pilipinas was just too strong for Malaysia as they need more time to develop their young players.
— Gilas Pilipinas (@smartgilasph) May 15, 2017
In an interview after the game (h/t Rappler), Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes revealed that everyone’s mothers were the inspiration for the game last Sunday, Mother’s Day. Reyes also noted that he was impressed with Malaysia’s physicality, something the Malaysians learned while playing in the PBA D-League.
“This is the team that played in the D-League, and that’s where they learned how to get tough, to be physical. That’s why we were prepared for that. We told them these guys will get up in your grill and pressure you. We were looking for a lot of layups and backdoor cuts to counter their pressure.”
On the other hand, Thailand is coming off a huge win over Myanmar on Monday to improve their record to 3-1. The Thais, just like Gilas Pilipinas and Vietnam, blow out the Burmese in the 2017 SEABA championships. Thailand defeated Myanmar 102-35 while the Philippines and Vietnam won by 107 points and 33 points, respectively.
In the win over Myanmar, Wutipong Dasom led Thailand with 40 points and 11 rebounds. Nakorn Jaisanuk added 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, and six steals while Narathip Boonserm had 13 points, six boards, and four assists.
According to Noel Zarate of Sports 5, Thailand is the leading country in the ASEAN that poses a threat to Gilas Pilipinas in the future. The Thais are known for their sharp shooting and they now have players who have height. However, Thailand does not have a naturalized player like Gilas Pilipinas.
“Suffice it to say that while Thailand is indeed emerging as the second best program in the region, they are still at least a decade away from matching the tremendous development that the Philippines has attained thus far.”
Besides Dasom, Jaisanuk, and Boonserm, other players who could give Gilas Pilipinas plenty of headaches during their matchup include Sorot Sunthonsiri and Nattakarn Muangboon. These two players are young point guards who could gain experience playing against the best players in the region.
— FIBA (@FIBA) May 15, 2017
Gilas Pilipinas is currently in second place at 3-0 in the 2017 SEABA championships standings behind the 4-0 Indonesia. The Indonesians have the day off on Tuesday and they will face Myanmar on Wednesday, which is an automatic win.
Indonesia and Gilas Pilipinas will clash on Thursday, May 18, in what could be the deciding game of the 2017 SEABA championships. The Philippines has to stay unbeaten for the next two games against Thailand and Vietnam to keep up with Indonesia. The winner of the 2017 SEABA championships will qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup later this year.
Gilas Pilipinas vs. Malaysia will take place on Tuesday, May 16 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines. Fans in attendance can watch the game live at 7 p.m. PST (7 a.m. ET). As for fans around the world, they can watch Gilas Pilipinas vs. Malaysia via live streaming online at Sports 5 Live.
[Featured Image by Miguel Angel Morenatti/AP Images]