Kiefer Ravena steadies ship in endgame as Gilas survives fright from Thailand
Gilas guard Kiefer Ravena led a tough stand in the endgame against Thailand. Jerome Ascano

KUALA LUMPUR - Gilas Pilipinas survived a scare from Thailand, 81-74, on Sunday night at the start of the men's basketball competitions of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.

Kiefer Ravena, Baser Amer, Bobby Ray Parks, and Christian Standhardinger made the key plays late in the game as Gilas pulled off the hard-earned win before a predominantly pro-Filipino crowd at the MABA Stadium. 

Made up mostly of cadets from the Gilas national team program, the Filipinos were made to sweat by a gritty Thai side that kept the game close throughout behind Thai-American Tyler Lamb.

The Thais even led, 71-69, with four minutes left. 

Ravena got Gilas rolling in the endgame by converting two free throws and a clutch jumper before Amer scored on a floater to give the Philippines a 77-71 lead.

After the Thais pulled within three again, the 6-8 Standhardinger, coming off a stint with Gilas in the Fiba Asia Cup, made a huge basket off an Amer feed to keep Gilas' head above water, 79-74.

Parks made a big defensive play midway through the fourth when he forced the fifth and final foul of Lamb, who, up until that point, had been on fire for the Thais.

But the win was by no means easy as the Filipinos were outshot, 6-10, from three-point land and were beaten in the battle off the boards, 42-50.

Fortunately, the Gilas cadets were able to pounce on 23 Thailand turnovers which they turned into 29 points.

Troy Rosario topscored for the Philippines with 16 points to go with his 10 rebounds while Standhardinger had a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards despite missing half of his 14 free throws.

Parks had 14 points while Ravena finished with 11 points for Gilas, which will have a day to recover from the tight win as they take a break on Monday.

Lamb exploded for 17 points and made the biggest shots for Thailand. He tied the game at 62-all and Chanatip Jakrawan converted a basket for a 66-64 lead for the Thais.

It proved to be the Thais' biggest stand as Lamb fouled out while Parks was diving for a loose ball, and Gilas made a 6-0 run thereafter.

The scores:

Philippines (81) - Rosario 16, Standhardinger 15, Parks 14, Ravena 11, Tolomia 8, Amer 6, Jose 6, Vosotros 3, Ferrer 2, Paras 0, Pessumal 0.

Thailand (74) - Lamb 17, Samerjai 12, Ananti 11, P. Klahan 10, Jakrawan 9, C. Klahan 5, Kruatiwa 4, Apriomvilaichai 4, Chanthacon 2, Ghogar 0, Muangboon 0, Lakhan 0.

Quarters: 22-12, 36-34, 60-59, 81-74.

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