The Philippine men’s basketball team fended off the host Vietnam 88-60 to hike its start to 4-0 at the 31st Southeast Asian Games at Thanh Trì District Sporting Hall in Hanoi Thursday.
June Mar Fajardo powered the team with a game-high 25 points and 11 rebounds while LeBron Lopez and Kiefer Ravena added 12 points apiece to hand Vietnam its first loss in three outings.
Gilas had an early 14-4 lead in the opening period after a basket from Ravena but Vietnam’s Quy Kiet Dang and Thanh Tam Dinh nailed back-to-back threes to cut the deficit to 13-14.
An off-the-glass basket of Vicent Cilia gave the host country its first lead of the match at 1:02 mark of the opening period, 17-16, but Will Navarro quickly returned the favor to the Philippines.
In the second quarter, Fajardo took charge to widen the gap, 30-21, after a couple of finger rolls.
Gilas opened the second half with a 6-0 start to create a 15-point cushion, 48-33, capped by Fajardo’s putback jumper.
At the tail end of the third, Lopez unleashed his own 5-0 run to further stretch the lead to 20 points, 62-42.
Juzang Anh tried to spark a Vietnam run in the game after scoring a three to start the payoff period, 50-62, but the Philippines responded with a 17-0 spurt for 79-50 lead, five minutes left in the game.
Gilas is eyeing a 14th straight SEA Games gold and 19th overall.