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Gilas battles Toroman’s Indonesia in semis

BY WAYLON GALVEZ

Games Today

(Mall of Asia Arena)

3:45 p.m. – Thailand vs Vietnam (M/Semifinal)

6:00 p.m. – Indonesia vs Malaysia (W/Prelims)

8:15 p.m. – Philippines vs Indonesia (M/Semifinal)

 

Gilas Pilipinas tries to move closer from completing its mission when the Nationals collide with the Indonesians in the semifinal round of basketball competition in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter, rivals since their collegiate days in Cebu, hope to lead Gilas to semis win vs Indons today. (Rio Deluvio)

June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter, rivals since their collegiate days in Cebu, hope to lead Gilas to semis win vs Indons today. (Rio Deluvio)

As expected, the all-PBA national team topped Group A with a perfect 3-0 record after convincing victories against Singapore (110-58), Vietnam (110-69) and Myanmar (136-67).

Vietnam finished second place with a 2-1 card and Myanmar went winless in three games. Thailand emerged as the top team in Group B also with a 3-0 slate followed by Indonesia (2-1) and Cambodia (0-3).

The top two teams from each group earned spots in the crossover semifinals of the tournament.

The game between Thailand and Vietnam is set at 3:45 p.m., while the Nationals battle Indonesia at 8:15 p.m. The winners will advance in tomorrow’s gold medal match at the same venue.

Despite a winning average of 54 points, Gilas head coach Tim Cone expressed caution against Indonesia since their opponent has someone very familiar with the Philippine brand of basketball.

Indonesia basketball is now under Serbian mentor Rajko Toroman, who led the original Smart Gilas Pilipinas program from 2009 to 2011 and had stints as coach in the PBA.

“We all know him, how great he’s been with the original Gilas team with Mark Barroca and Marcio Lassiter. So he was kind the founder of the Gilas program,” said Cone, who considers Toroman a good friend.

“He also coached in the PBA. We know how good he is, and we know how disciplined his teams are, usually very great shooting teams. But we had our own job to finish.”

Indonesia was supposed to bring in a naturalized player in Lester Prosper, but it didn’t materialize. They dropped their opening game to Thailand 98-79, but came through with wins against Malaysia (101-92), and Cambodia (100-71).

Nevertheless, Cone wants his team to come out strong against Indonesia, saying: “We have something we have to do and go out. We’re not going to hold anything back.”

In preparation for the knockout stage, Cone opted to rest June Mar Fajardo and Stanley Pringle in their previous game with Myanmar, but both are expected to play against Indonesia.

“June Mar was really worn out, he has no injury. Stanley’s aching a little bit but nothing major. We decided to give them rest and get them him ready for semifinals. No injuries involved,” said Cone.

 

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