MANILA, Philippines - Letran stalwart Kevin Alas provided the spark as Gilas Pilipinas came from behind to top a Southern California Fukienese Association team laden with tough American players, 81-77, for the coveted crown in the 19th Super Kung Sheung Cup at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wanchai, Hong Kong last night.
"Yes! Big hope 4 d future," said coach Chot Reyes on his Twitter account a few moments after the Gilas cadet pool swept their way to the championship in the six-day competition featuring eight teams, including three Southeast national squads the PH quintet is to face in the SEA Games in Myanmar late this year.
The Nationals clobbered Indonesia, Hong Kong and Malaysia by an average winning margin of 41 points in group plays.
They got past Changsa Park Lane, 90-69, in the crossover semifinals to set up the titular showdown with the SCFA squad bannered by eight Americans.
SCFA proved to be a tough opponent but Gilas Pilipinas mustered enough strength to stay right behind before Alas fueled a decisive run at the finish, carrying the Nationals to the scintillating victory cheered on by a sizable Filipino crowd.
Alas, among the collegiate players being trained for the coming SEAG, was the team’s biggest hero and went on to win the Finals MVP award.
Marcus Douthit also played a key role, imposing his presence at the paint and helping the Nationals keep SCFA at bay.
SCFA set the pace most of the way, leading by as many as eight, and was still ahead with a little over two minutes left to play.
The Nationals surged ahead in the last two minutes and held on to the finish largely through the heroics of Alas.