Gilas Pilipinas vs. Indonesia is the final game of the 2017 SEABA championships. Gilas Pilipinas is still the favorite to come out on top and qualify for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup. However, Indonesia can shock the world now that two of their best players are finally cleared to play in the tournament.
The Philippines maintained their undefeated record in the 2017 SEABA championships with a 107-52 victory against Vietnam to set up the showdown against Indonesia. Matthew Wright was named best player of the game as he led Gilas Pilipinas with 19 points, two rebounds, and one assist. Wright shot 7-for-9 from the field while also hitting five three-point shots.
Calvin Abueva had another big game for Gilas Pilipinas with 16 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Raymund Almazan also had his breakout party against Vietnam as he put up 16 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. All Gilas Pilipinas players who entered the court got on the score sheet.
It should be noted that naturalized big man Andray Blatche did not play for Gilas Pilipinas against Vietnam. Blatche was given a day off ahead of the game versus Indonesia. He has yet to have a breakout game for the Philippines but he is expected to go off against reinforced Indonesians.In an interview after the game (h/t SPIN.ph), Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes was very satisfied with his team despite fielding an all-Filipino lineup. Reyes pointed out his team's struggles in the first half but Gilas Pilipinas managed to compose themselves and put a great effort in the second half.
"We came into this ballgame with the purpose of making sure we keep our discipline and maintain good habits. Unfortunately, it wasn't the case in the first quarter, in the first half but it was pretty understandable because the guys came off a hard game last night, and they're subconsciously already thinking about or preparing for the harder game tomorrow. Overall, still a pretty good effort from our guys."On the other hand, Indonesia also showed there might on Wednesday against the lowly Myanmar. The Indonesians pounded the Burmese, 123-50, inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum. They look prepared for Gilas Pilipinas in the final game of the 2017 SEABA championships on Thursday.
Additionally, Indonesia will have more reinforcements against Gilas Pilipinas for Thursday's championship game. Just like Gilas Pilipinas, Indonesia has a naturalized player in Jamarr Johnson from the United States. Johnson was an undrafted prospect in the 2011 NBA Draft and he got naturalized before the 2017 SEABA championships.
According to Yoyo Sarmenta of Sports 5, Johnson and U.S.-born Arki Wisnu was cleared to play in the final two games of the 2017 SEABA championships against Myanmar and Gilas Pilipinas. Johnson had 17 points, seven rebounds, and one block against Myanmar while Wisnu put up seven points, two rebounds, and two assists in just eight minutes.Indonesia head coach Wahyu Widayat Jati told ABS-CBN News in an interview that his team will have a very hard time in the game against Gilas Pilipinas. However, Jati noted that Indonesia is going to put up a fight and they will try their best to upset the Philippines in the final game of the 2017 SEABA championships.
"It's hard to beat Philippines. To be honest, it's hard but at least, we try. We will not give up. We'll try our best tomorrow. The Philippines is a big team, you know, so many talents over there. They have size. In the game against Thailand, they probably had some adjustments in the first half. In the second half, they already got their rhythm. They won by a big margin because of their adjustments."Gilas Pilipinas vs. Indonesia got more exciting with the reinforcements for the latter. Gilas Pilipinas might finally be given a challenge after blowing out all of their first five opponents. The winner of the 2017 SEABA championships will determine the region's representative for the FIBA Asia Cup later this year.
Fans in attendance can watch Gilas Pilipinas vs. Indonesia on May 18, Thursday, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. The game starts at 7 p.m. PST (7 a.m. ET). As for fans around the world, they can watch the game via online live streaming at Sports 5 Live.
[Featured Image by Bullit Marquez/AP Images]