SEA Games: Philippines reach basketball final after hard-fought win over Thailand

SINGAPORE - The Philippines reached the final of the SEA Games men's basketball competition for the 17th straight time, after a hard-fought 80-75 victory over Thailand in the semi-finals at the OCBC Arena Hall 1 on Sunday.

Since the Philippines joined the Games in 1977, they have reached the basketball final in each of 16 times the sport has been organised. Despite the noisy presence of Filipino fans, the 15-time champions were pressured into a tight game with Thailand, as the two sides traded points back-and-forth until the final minute.

"I got nothing but praise for the way our team handled themselves in the second half," Philippines coach Thomas Anthony Baldwin said. "They were young kids who could have succumbed to that, but instead they played like veteran players to come back against a very good Thailand team."

Jeth Troy Rosario scored 27 points to lead the scoring. With the score tied at 71-71, Rosario received an alley-oop from his captain Kiefer Ravena to increase their lead, and with 16 seconds left, he buried a crucial three-pointer to end Thailand's comeback hopes.

Philippines will now go to Monday's final where they will play against Indonesia.

marcusl@sph.com.sg

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