By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Gilas Pilipinas boys’ national basketball team just ended their FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship-SEABA Qualifiers campaign with a 3-0 clean slate after outdueling Indonesia, 77-65, last July 19, 2023, held at GOR Kertajaya in Surabaya, Indonesia.
It was an entirely different scenario for the young Filipino cagers after facing their first-ever deficit in their whole SEABA campaign.
After taking down Malaysia and Thailand by more than 30 points during their first two games, Gilas was put in a difficult situation after Indonesia ended the first frame with a 21-16 lead.
The home bets were all over the court diving for the loose balls while also knocking down most of their perimeter jumper attempts.
Gilas only needed a brief window to respond after the coaching staff made some adjustments heading into the second quarter.
From a slow-paced first-quarter action displayed by the Gilas boys, the youngsters turned on the jets and went back to their usual playing style, causing mayhem every time they pushed the ball and drove hard to the basket.
The second-quarter resurgence was kicked off after Gilas tightened up their perimeter defense and deployed better communication when the Indonesians ran their pick-and-pop plays.
From a five-point deficit, Gilas immediately stole the momentum in the second and retook the advantage heading into the second half, 38-32.
It was then all Gilas in the last two quarters after Kieffer Alas once again stole the show with his efficient offensive showing.
Gilas’ top-scorer and most consistent scorer of the SEABA tournament took control in the second half and ended up with 19 points alongside 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Alas’ explosion was then backstopped by CJ Amos who contributed 14 markers while Bonn Daja added 14 rebounds and nine points.