Gilas sits out Blatche but still mauls Vietnam


Manila, Philippines - Defending champion Batang Gilas moved within a win of retaining the title as it earned its third straight victory by beating Thailand, 113-46, in the 2017 Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) U-16 Championship yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Philippines-Indonesia game promises to be an exciting one following the clearance granted by FIBA for Indonesian naturalized player Jamarr Johnson and Indon-American Arki Wisnu to play in the tourney.

The Philippines is now a win away from the 2017 SEABA Championships gold after a 107-52 annihilation of Vietnam on Wednesday, May 17 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum here.

As challenges come few and far in betweeen for the Philippines in the ASEAN region, the focus for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2017 SEABA tournament is to ultimately improve each and every game.

Gilas Pilipinas did away with the final game of its preparation to make it to the Fiba Asia World Cup Qualifying on Wednesday night, doing so in the same emphatic manner that it has done in the first four.

Gilas gunner Matthew Wright is the latest of the national team to dispose of the idea that the SEABA joust is an overkill just because Filipinos have a winning average of 63.8 points through five ideal games.

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With this in mind, Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes made a decision to rest Blatche in Wednesday's game against Vietnam to be ready for the expected tougher competition against Indonesia Thursday. Raymond Almazan and Calvin Abueva added 16 points apiece and 6 rebounds each.

Troy Rosario chipped in 12 more for the hosts as Jiovani Jalalon tallied 10 from the bench.

Vietnam drops to 1-4 in the tournament.

Indonesia showed that, just like the Philippines, it can pulverize an opponent when it blasted Myanmar, 123-50, on the eve of the much anticipated showdown against Gilas Pilipinas for the crown.

Myanmar remained winless in the tournament after five matches.

Abraham Grahita and Hardianus Lakudu led Indonesia with 19 and 18 points, respectively. "That's why we keep harping on the fact that we shouldn't take anything for granted, and we'd like to think everything we've done at this point is to get us ready for this game tomorrow", head coach Chot Reyes said of his team's performance.