E-Gilas back as regional kingpin
MANILA, Philippines — E-Gilas Pilipinas reclaimed the Southeast Asian Conference title after surviving a feisty challenge of Indonesia in the thrilling finale of the FIBA Esports Open III last night.
Unlike their easy wins in the preliminary and semifinal, the Nationals figured in a close duel with the Indonesians but still came out on top with a sweep of the best-of-three championship, 60-53, 44-36.
The Filipinos went unbeaten in six games overall for their second FIBA title in three editions so far after pocketing the inaugural event last June. They settled for a runner-up finish in the second edition against Australia last November.
Aljon “Shintarou” Cruzin once again starred for E-Gilas, scoring 11 of the team’s 13-5 closeout to flip a 47-48 deficit in the last three minutes for a slim series opener win.
The Philippines then turned to defense in the low scoring Game 2, allowing only 36 points to keep its mastery of Indonesia after a 5-0 sweep in the first FIBA tourney last year.
Rial Polog Jr., Philippe Herrero, Custer Galas and Arnie Sison threw in solid contributions as E-Gilas regained its rightful throne in the region.
The Philippines previously scored massive victories in the group phase against Vietnam, 78-40, and Maldives, 124-30, before sweeping Mongolia in the semis, 95-35, 64-58.