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Gilas Pilipinas Gets Back at Cambodia, Regains SEA Games Gold

May 17, 2023 Philippines Sports

Gilas Pilipinas has regained its crown as kings of Southeast Asian basketball, and they did so in vengeful fashion.

The Philippines avenged a group stage loss to Cambodia with an 80-69 triumph in the final to claim the gold medal in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, in front of a packed crowd at the Morodok Techo Elephant Hall 2 in Phnom Penh on Tuesday evening.

Gilas dealt the host nation — reinforced by several naturalized players — its lone loss of the competition and relegated them to the silver medal.

An outstanding defensive effort in the second quarter proved pivotal for the Filipinos. They out-scored Cambodia, 23-11, in the period to take a 44-33 lead at the break — one that they would not relinquish despite the hosts’ repeated rallies in the second half.

“Siyempre masaya, pero more than anything, happy for the players dahil ‘yung pinaghirapan nila, nagbunga,” said Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes after their win.

Justin Brownlee starred anew for the Philippines with 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists. The much-loved Barangay Ginebra import was tireless in the game, even after lifting Gilas to the gold medal game with a clutch performance against Indonesia less than 24 hours ago.

Chris Newsome added 16 points, Marcio Lassiter had 10, and the Philippines buckled down defensively to limit Cambodia to just 4-of-19 shooting from long range.

The hosts had stunned Gilas, 79-68, when they met in the group stage last week with the host country firing 12 3-pointers. But Gilas’ defense was on point in the gold-medal game, limiting Cambodia’s looks from long-range.

Dwayne Morgan sparked an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter that made it a five-point game, 64-59, with still 7:12 to go. Gilas answered with back-to-back three-pointers courtesy of CJ Perez and Brownlee, and their defense held firm the rest of the way.

Gilas even pushed the lead back to 12 points, 76-64, off a Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser layup with 3:31 left. Cambodia faded from there, and Newsome ended the game in style with a 3-pointer in their final possession.

It was the Philippines’ 56th gold medal in the Cambodia SEA Games.

Brandon Peterson led Cambodia with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Morgan had 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting. But Darrin Dorsey was held to 17 points 4-of-14 shooting from the field. Cambodia played just seven men in the game.

In the bronze medal game, Thailand routed Indonesia, 83-69. The defending SEA Games gold medalists, Indonesia wound up outside of the podium in Phnom Penh.

Gilas Pilipinas had dethroned Indonesia on Monday, with Brownlee delivering in the clutch for a come-from-behind 84-76 triumph.

All of the Philippines’ basketball teams will head home with medals, after the men’s and women’s 3×3 squads got silvers, and the Gilas Pilipinas Women also finished in second place.

The scores:

Philippines (80) – Brownlee 23, Newsome 16, Lassiter 10, Standhardinger 9, Perez 9, Ganuelas-Rosser 9, Lastimosa 4, Ross 0, Tolentino 0, Phillips 0, Amos 0.

Cambodia (69) – Peterson 18, Dorsey 17, Pridgett 13, Morgan 13, Henderson 6, Lopes 2, Hoeup 0.

Quarterscores: 21-22, 44-33, 64-51, 80-69.

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