DARWIN, Australia – Leomer Losentes scored 40 points to carry the Philippines to a 114-89 win over WA Indigenous and a palce in the men's basketball finals of the 2019 Arafura Games on Friday night.
A mainstay of the GenSan Warriors in the MPBL, Losentes took over in the second half, going 16-of-27 from the field and converted eight three-pointers to the delight of a packed crowd at the Darwin Basketball Stadium.
With the win, the Philippines gained a shot at the gold medal in the finals where it will face Northern Territory Top End, which defeated the Filipino cagers earlier in the day, 95-85.
At the end of the round-robin playoffs, the Northern Territory Top End, the Philippines, and WA Indigenous ended in tie with a 1-1 record, but the Northern Territory Top End and the Philippines advanced by virtue of a superior quotient.
The Philippines needed to win by seven points or more in order to book a spot in the championship game after WA Indigenous beat Northern Territory Top End, 87-83.
“Wow,” said Philippines head coach Cholo Elegino. “’Yun lang masasabi ko. Kailangan namin manalo ng seven points. Ang sabi ko sa mga players, ang mentality natin 10 points up ‘yung lamang, keep on pushing.
“Naging gutom ang mga bata. Gusto talaga nila manalo,” said Elegino.
The Philippines started pulling away in the third period with a run by Losentes putting it ahead, 70-55. The visitors led by as many as 29 points.
“Sabi ko, we might not get another opportunity to represent the Philippines once again. Let’s maximize this time, kunin natin ‘to at ibigay natin lahat para sa bayan,” said Elgino.
Jorem Morada had 15 points, while John Rey Manatad added 15 points and 13 rebounds for the team made up of players from Mindanao.
Philippines 114 – Losentes 40, Morada 15, Manatad 15, Fernando 14, Bulac 10, Espiritu 5, Arana 5, Medrano 4, Ruiz 2, San Diego 2, Villarmia 2, Campo 0.
WA Indigenous 89 – Narkle 19, Papertalk 15, J. Kelly 14, Tr. Kelly 10, Griggs 9, Yarran 9, Duke 9, Te. Kelly 2, Smith 2.
Quarters: 31-27; 58-53; 86-69; 114-89.