Gilas Pilipinas will face Vietnam on the sixth day of the 2017 SEABA championships. The Philippines is still undefeated in the tournament and they need to win the game against Vietnam to force a tie with Indonesia. The Filipinos are coming off a big victory over Thailand on Tuesday.
Japeth Aguilar was named the best player of the game for Gilas against Thailand. Aguilar had 23 points, five rebounds, and two blocks. He was 10-for-10 from the field and his defense helped the Philippines pull away from Thailand in the 108-53 win.
Three more players scored in double figures for Gilas Pilipinas including Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, and Andray Blatche. Abueva put up 15 points, two rebounds, and six assists while Romeo and Blatche each scored 11 points.
Teerawat Chanthaohon led Thailand with 16 points, seven rebounds, one assist, and one steal. He was the only player to score in double figures for the Thais against Gilas Pilipinas. The game, as well as the 2017 SEABA championships, showed how far the talent level is for Gilas Pilipinas from their ASEAN counterparts.
Chot Reyes, head coach of Gilas Pilipinas, told reporters after the game that they expected a slow start, as reported by ABS-CBN News. Reyes added that Thailand played great but Gilas Pilipinas has a much better bench and it was the difference in the game.
"My first words in the pregame is we will be tested in this ball game. Thailand is playing very well. They're long, they're athletic and they're well coached. We knew we would struggle, that we would get tested in this game. But once we got used to their length, we were able to make some adjustments. Our second unit gave us a great lift."Gilas Pilipinas improved to 4-0 with the win while Thailand goes down with a record of 3-2. The Filipinos are now averaging 118.5 points per game and the margin of victory is a whopping 66 points. Gilas Pilipinas is dominating the 2017 SEABA championships as predicted by basketball experts.
Vietnam, on the other hand, almost pulled off the upset of the 2017 SEABA championships on Tuesday night against Malaysia. The game went into overtime, the first of the tournament, as the Vietnamese fell short in the 86-85 loss. They were up by as much as six points late in the fourth quarter but the Malaysians fought their way back to force overtime.
Choo Wei Hong of Malaysia hit the go-ahead jumper with seven seconds remaining. Vietnamese star Ngoc Le had the chance to win the game but his shot was blocked by Ting Chun Hong at the buzzer to give Malaysia the deserved victory.
Han Minh Trieu led Vietnam with 20 points, two rebounds, one assist, and two steals. Van Hung Nguyen had 16 points and 12 rebounds while Le added 14 points, four boards, six assists, and two steals. The loss gives Vietnam a record of 1-3 heading into the showdown with Gilas Pilipinas.Noel Zarate of Sports 5 reported that Vietnam is still a work in progress before they can pose a threat to Gilas Pilipinas. The country's basketball program is improving because of a couple of foreign coaches. The sport has also come a long way in Vietnam and its popularity is increasing.
"They'll still have their hands full against an already well-oiled Gilas quintet. They're still a mysterious bunch, though. Knowing how Pinoys love to root for the underdogs, Vietnam might just be the darlings of the crowd when they go up against the aforementioned teams."Gilas Pilipinas has to defeat Vietnam on Wednesday in order to force a tie with Indonesia for the best record in the 2017 SEABA championships. Indonesia will face Myanmar on the same day and they are expected to come out as winners. Gilas Pilipinas vs. Indonesia is going to determine the champions of the 2017 SEABA tournament.
For fans who want to watch Gilas Pilipinas vs. Vietnam, the game starts at 7 p.m. PST (7 a.m. ET) and it will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines. On the other hand, fans around the world can still catch Gilas Pilipinas vs. Vietnam online via live streaming at Sports 5 Live.
[Featured Image by Miguel Angel Morenatti/AP Images]