Erratum: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that the Philippines has won its 18th men's basketball gold medal in the SEA Games. This is only the Philippines' 17th men's basketball gold.
KUALA LUMPUR — (UPDATED, CORRECTED) Gilas Pilipinas saved its best performance of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games for its last game.
After a couple of scary results — close calls against Thailand in the group round and Singapore in the semifinals — Gilas Pilipinas finally showed its full might against Indonesia in the gold medal game.
With Mike Tolomia waxing hot from the field, Kobe Paras thrilling the MABA Stadium crowd with his athleticism, and the whole team playing lockdown defense, the Philippines crushed Indonesia, 94-55, on Saturday night.
It marked the 17th time that the Filipinos have dominated the basketball competition of the biennial tournament, and the second straight time that they have beaten Indonesia in the final.
Unlike their game in Singapore two years ago, where Gilas labored to a 72-64 result, the Filipinos were mostly unbothered this time around.
The result of Gilas' efforts was an 18th gold medal for the Philippines in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.
"They saved their best game for last," said coach Jong Uichico after their victory. "I'm just the coach. They're the ones playing, and they saved their best game for last, and I thank them for that."
"I was hoping they'd really shoot well (tonight). They've been defending well. We were just hoping that they'd really shoot well, and they really shot well tonight," he added.
Tolomia had his best game of the tournament, scoring 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, to go along with four boards and three assists. Paras came off the bench to score 14 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting, including a triple as he showed off his range.
Christian Standhardinger contributed 11 points, while Ray Parks led the team with 12 rebounds and played superb defense on Indonesia's veteran forward, Arki Wisnu.
Indonesia kept the game close in the opening frame, as it deliberately slowed the pace of the contest and prevented the Filipinos from getting transition opportunities.
But the entry of Carl Bryan Cruz with 2:26 left signaled a change of pace for Gilas. After trailing 12-14 after a Wisnu bucket, the small, speedy Gilas lineup proceeded to outscore Indonesia 7-1 to end the opening quarter, and take a 19-15 lead.
The Philippines broke the game open in the second quarter, thanks to Tolomia who hit three three-pointers in the canto. Troy Rosario also got into the act, scoring on a tip-dunk that gave Gilas a 45-27 lead entering the halftime break.
Gilas Pilipinas showed no letup in the second half, as it continued to pour it on. The grinding game that Indonesia wanted disappeared as the Filipinos ran at every opportunity.
By the fourth period, the sizable Philippine contingent had started to chant for Paras, and the coaching staff obliged fielding in the athletic high-flier.
Paras did not let the Filipino fans down, too, as he threw down a couple of crowd-pleasing dunks, including an alley-oop off a pass from Tolomia.
But it was Kiefer Ravena, who was playing in possibly his last SEA Games, who had the last say. Struggling with his shot all night long, Ravena shook off his defender for a step-back three-pointer with 1:35 to go that pegged the final score.
Ravena closed out his career in the biennial tournament with seven points and two boards. The "Phenom" will go home with his fourth SEA Games basketball gold medal, breaking the record he shared with Rommel Adducul.
"Every time I play for the national team, it gets better and better, so I guess this is the most special one for me," said a beaming Ravena after the contest.
Ray Parks and Kevin Ferrer, meanwhile, became three-time SEA Games gold medalists.
Diftha Pratama and Sandy Kurniawan led Indonesia with 10 points each. But their veterans – Wisnu and Mario Wuysang – had disappointing outings as they combined for only eight points. Wuysang, playing in his last SEA Games, made only one of seven shots in the contest.
After struggling with its offense for most of the SEA Games, Gilas got untracked and converted 46% of its attempts, including nine of 27 triples, in the gold medal game. The Filipinos also limited Indonesia to only 29% shooting, and had a 50-36 rebounding advantage.
Earlier, Thailand defeated Singapore, 65-55, to claim the bronze medal.
Gilas Pilipinas (94) - Tolomia 20, Paras 14, Jose 12, Standhardinger 11, Rosario 8, Ravena 7, Cruz 6, Ferrer 5, Pessumal 5, Amer 4, Parks, Jr. 2, Vosotros 0.
Indonesia (55) - Pratama 10, Kurniawan 10, Wisnu 6, Enguio 5, Sitepu 4, Dhyaksa 4, Nugroho 4, Kosasih 4, Wuysang 2, Grahita 2, Sitorus 2, Lakudu 2.
Quarters: 19-15, 45-27, 67-38, 94-55
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