The Gilas Pilipinas men’s basketball team overcame the host Vietnam’s raucous crowd and gritty stand to prevail, 88-60, and move closer to the gold medal of the 31st Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball competition on Thursday night at the Thanh Tri Gymnasium in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Man-mountain June Mar Fajardo was once again unstoppable as he came up with a double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds.
Kiefer Ravena added 12 points, seven assists, and six rebounds, while young high-flyer Francis “Lebron” Lopez also scored 12 markers.
The win was the Gilas’ fourth in a row. They now stand just a couple of wins from claiming the gold medal in this biennial competition. They battle Malaysia on Saturday before closing out the tournament against Indonesia on Sunday. The team with the most wins at the end of the single round-robin tournament will win the gold.
Gilas could not shake off Vietnam in the first half which ended with the former in front, 42-33. They started to get some separation in the third canto as Fajardo and Ravena fueled a 6-0 run to raise their lead to 15. From there, it was all Philippines as they kept the pressure on and pushed the lead to a high of 31 points.
Christopher Dierker led Vietnam with 20 points while Thanh Tam Dinh added 12 points.