MANILA, Philippines -- E-Gilas Pilipinas has reclaimed its status as the top team in Southeast Asia.
Powered by an MVP-performance from Angelico "Shintarou" Cruzin, E-Gilas swept Indonesia in the best-of-three finals of the Southeast Asian Conference of the FIBA Esports Open III on Sunday evening.
In a back-and-forth Game 1, it was Shintarou who drilled the dagger three-pointer to seal a difficult 60-53 victory.
Their defense paved the way for a 44-36 triumph in Game 2, as E-Gilas stymied all of Indonesia's attempts to get back in the game. The Shintarou-Izzo tandem proved unstoppable as well.
"We've been preparing for this Indonesia team. I know they've been a good team, they improved a lot. We've watched their game films, videos since last week, studying their moves, tendencies. I'm so happy with the results," said Rial Polog Jr.
Cruzin earned MVP honors for his performance in the Finals.
E-Gilas Pilipinas won all their games in the group phase, before sweeping Mongolia in the best-of-3 semifinals, 95-35 and 64-58.
For the team, it was a long awaited victory after they ceded their Southeast Asian Conference crown to Australia in November. E-Gilas had won the inaugural FIBA Esports Open in June.
"It means a lot to represent again and reclaim the Southeast Asia Conference title. We've been through ups and downs, we've lost FIBA Esports II, so yeah, I'm so happy and blessed that we reclaimed the title," said Polog Jr.
The third edition of the FIBA Esports Open featured more teams.
Aside from the Philippines and Indonesia, Vietnam, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Mongolia also competed in the Southeast Asian Conference.