Gilas Pilipinas men’s 3×3 proved the Philippines, be it five-on-five or three-a-side, is the undisputed basketball kings of the Southeast Asian Games.
Living up to their top billing, the Gilas crew of San Miguel’s Mo Tautuaa, Meralco’s Chris Newsome, Phoenix’s Jason Perkins and Columbian’s CJ Perez dished out their A-games and went through the two-day tournament undefeated en route to topping the inaugural staging of 3×3 basketball in the biennial meet.
With the coveted gold on the line, the all-pro squad put its game face on and bamboozled past hapless Indonesia in just over seven minutes of play, 21-9, to the delight of the home crowd at Filoil Flying V Center.
CJ Perez was the a beast in the title-clincher, outscornig the entire Indon crew with his 10-point performance, his four baskets opening the finale sparking Gilas’ early breakaway and an 18-6 tear.
Newsome and Perkins added four apiece and Tautuaa scored three markers, knocking down the twinner that iced it and triggered wild celebration for Pinoy hoops fans in the arena.
Coach Ronnie Magsanoc lauded his four-man crew for working in unison to extend the Philippines’ reign in the newly-calendared 3×3 play.
“They’re the ones who developed their cohesion and chemistry. I saw in them their commitment and willingness to play for the country,” said the soft-spoken coach who’s had a few weeks of solid training for this campaign.