PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA — Gilas Pilipinas shut down Indonesia and held its rival without a basket in a near four-minute stretch as the Philippines posted an 84-76 triumph against the defending champion in their gut-wrenching semifinals showdown in the Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball tournament Monday at the Elephant Hall 2 of the Morodok Techo National Stadium here.
The win allowed the Filipinos to set up a gold medal showdown with host Cambodia, which earlier outplayed Thailand, 76-66.
The Filipinos turned on the defensive switch and started the adjustment in the second half by putting smaller but faster players to front Indonesia’s naturalized player and resident Philippine Basketball Association import Lester Prosper and sent another player on the help side.
But when push came to shove, Gilas decided to switch all on the defensive side and stayed in front of a ball carrier, even forcing the Indonesians to several 24-second violations down the stretch.
With half of the job done, it was Brownlee’s turn to preside on offense.
Indonesia’s basket courtesy of Kaleb Gumilang in 4:10 mark of the fourth period gave Indonesia its last taste of the lead as Brownlee touched off Gilas’ 14 unanswered points, including back-to-back treys from there on.
The three-time Best Import from Barangay Ginebra, who is now on his first tour of duty as the naturalized player of Gilas in the SEA Games, scored 10 of his team’s last 14 points.
“We practiced until midnight (Sunday). We have to wait for the Thailand-Indonesia game to be over before practice to know who could we practice for,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes.
“Luckily, the preparations that we made in practice paid off (against Indonesia),” he added. “But the important thing was, we kept ourselves close throughout the game. They made a helluva run throughout the game, they threw haymaker after haymaker at us, but we just kept hanging in there and that is the product of our late night practice.”
Brownlee led the way for the Philippines as he pumped in 34 points, including five treys.
He had rediscovered his old, deadly form in the most crucial stretch of the competition and his performance will be needed the most when Gilas battle Cambodia in the gold medal match on Tueday, 16 May at 3 p.m. (4 p.m. in Manila).
Cambodia walloped the Philippines, 79-68, in their group stage match a few days ago where Brownlee had to battle exhaustion due to the heat and lost a lot of fluids during the match.
Gilas Pilipinas trailed for the most part of the first half as it couldn’t contain Prosper, who knocked in 21 points, including four three-point shots.
But Prosper also got solid support from Anthony Beane, who plays in the Indonesian Basketball League for the Indonesia Patriots.
Beane contributed nine in the first half.