By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE Philippine hoops squads that competed in 3×3 basketball in the 30th Southeast Asian Games topped their respective divisions in the finals on Monday, adding to the steadily mounting gold medal haul of the country.
The men’s team, composed of Philippine Basketball Association stars CJ Perez, Jason Perkins, Mo Tautuaa and Chris Newsome, completed a sweep of the men’s tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
It capped its undefeated run by beating Indonesia in the finals, 21-9, to bag the gold medal in the sport, which made its SEA Games debut this year.
The women’s squad of Jack Animam, Afril Bernardino, Janine Pontejos and Clare Castro also took home the top prize.
They defeated Thailand in the championship, 17-13, on the way to the gold.
The men’s finals saw the Philippines dominating right from the get-go.
Mr. Perez was firing from all cylinders to help his team to a 15-6 lead midway into the match.
They were hardly threatened from there, going for the 21-9 finish with 2:25 left in the match.
Mr. Perez led the way with 10 points.
“We just executed our game plan. The coaching staff did a good job of scouting our opponents and it really helped us a lot in this tournament,” said Mr. Perkins.
Taking the bronze was Vietnam, 21-17, over Thailand.
Unlike the men’s team which swept the competition, the women’s team saw itself being tripped in its final game of group play, losing to Thailand, 22-20.
It, however, bounced back in the championship round defeating Vietnam, 21-12, in the semifinals to book a spot in the finals against Thailand.
In the finals, Misses Pontejos and Animam got the Philippines to a strong start, racing to a 9-5 lead with 6:47 to play.
The nationals continued to pour it on in the next minute to stretch their lead to seven points, 12-5.
Ms. Bernardino then took on the offensive cudgels for the hosts, helping her team to a 16-8 lead with 2:35 to go.
Thailand moved to within four points, 17-13, with a minute left as it found its groove from the outside.
It would not come any closer than that though as the Philippines held on for the win and the payback for the earlier loss it had against the Thais.
“It was a total team effort. The players really wanted to win this gold and I’m proud of them,” said Philippine women’s coach Pat Aquino after their win.
Malaysia took the bronze by beating Vietnam, 21-7.