TWO teams from the Philippines were left to battle it out on the courts after the ousting of Malaysian team, Victoria’s Secret, in a tightly contested semi-finals game for Men’s Basketball at ASEAN Games Australia. Fedora Gracia reports.
Team Pilipinas Australia took home the Men’s Basketball title at this year’s ASEAN Games Australia.
The atmosphere was tense on court and off, even before the final game began. “We’re gonna win it,” a player on Team Pilipinas Australia remarked while warming up.
Earlier, Red Horse Republic, also from the Philippines, had defeated Malaysian basketball team Victoria’s Secret 53-46.
And with just a 15-minute rest time from the previous match, Red Horse Republic was back in the court at 3.05pm to strive for first place.
The score board quickly turned 3-0 for Team Pilipinas Australia as soon as the jump ball was theirs, and as the clock ticked away, the crowd were whispering and guessing whom the trophy would fall to.
A couple of 3-pointers were made during the first half by both teams, as well as fast breaks and layups which ended the first half with the score of 28-26 for the Red Horse Republic.
But while Red Horse Republic held their ground and played determinedly throughout the first half, the players began to waver in the second half.
Owie Sarrida and Mike Ogdoc, experienced some light injuries, and with 10 minutes left in the match, fatigue crept in and was beginning to show on the exhausted faces of the team, and through the continuous substitution of players.
Team Pilipinas Australia took the advantage to carve out a 3-point lead in the game, with a score of 43-40 against Red Horse Republic.
With little time remaining, the pressure led both sides to commit more fouls. Lopez from Team Pilipinas Australia was fouled twice in two minutes and took two free throws.
In the last minute of the game, Team Pilipinas Australia was in possession of the ball, and played safe, refusing to make any attempts that would risk them losing the ball. Passes in between players were made, stirring impatience among the Red Horse Republic players.
It all ended with a lay up by Urray finishing the match with a score of 57-47.
As it turned out, Team Pilipinas Australia was formed just two weeks prior to the ASEAN Games and only managed to log two practice sessions together as a team. They were however all part of the Filipino league and had been playing competitively for seven seasons.
The team acknowledged that Red Horse Republic was a tough opponent.