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    Gilas inches closer to SEA Games gold after turning back Vietnam

    May 19, 2022
    June Mar Fajardo Gilas
    June Mar Fajardo had another dominant performance for Gilas.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    HANOI - Gilas Pilipinas overcame Vietnam's gritty stand and its animated fans to put away an 88-60 win on Thursday night and stay undefeated in the 31st Southeast Asian Games men's basketball tournament.

    June Mar Fajardo, Kiefer Ravena, and LeBron Lopez carried Gilas Pilipinas in important stretches that kept Vietnam from getting too close for comfort in the endgame of a lively match at the Thanh Tri Gymnasium.

    Thirdy Ravena, Gilas Pilipinas

    The victory was Gilas Pilipinas' fourth in as many days. They take a break on Friday before the final stretch of the round-robin tournament where the Nationals will face Malaysia on Saturday and Indonesia on Sunday.

    The first placer at the end of the phase will win the gold medal.

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      Gilas won in front of a pro-Vietnam crowd that cheered their team with gusto, becoming noisier after Christopher Dierker kept the host in the game at the half, 42-33. But Fajardo and Ravena combined in a 6-0 run to start the third for a 48-33 lead.

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      Fajardo led the way again with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Ravena had 12 points, six rebounds, and seven assists for Gilas. The teenager Lopez was efficient with 12 points in 14 minutes.

      “Credit to Team Vietnam. They came up with a great game plan. They really challenged us. It had to take our best to pull off this victory,” said Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes. “I thought the players were able to make key adjustments specifically defensively.”

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      Gilas played in front of raucous fans that cheered for every made basket by Vietnam until the final buzzer, even when the lead had reached a high of 31 points.

      “We were able to keep our cool. We knew it’s going to be a wild gym because of the crowd. We talked about it and it was exactly what happened. In the end, it was the experience of the players,” said Reyes.

      Dierker had 20 points while Thanh Tam Dinh had 12 points. Christian Juzang was limited to eight points on 3-of-12 from the field.

      The scores:

      Philippines 88 – Fajardo 25, K. Ravena 12, Lopez 12, Pogoy 8, Rosario 7, T. Ravena 6, Navarro 6, Montalbo 3, Wright 3, Tungcab 2, Tautuaa 2, Go 2.

      Vietnam 60 – Dierker 20, Dinh 12, Juzang 8, Huynh Phu 6, Cilia 5, Dinh 3, Du Minh 2, Vo Kim 2, Nguyen Van 2, Duong 0, Dang Thai 0.

      Quarters: 20-17; 42-33; 62-47; 88-60.

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      June Mar Fajardo had another dominant performance for Gilas.
      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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