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June Mar Fajardo, Thirdy Ravena show way as Gilas escapes Thailand in SEA Games opener

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 16/05/2022 BEA MICALLER,GMA News
Photo: PSC/POC Photo: PSC/POC

The Philippine national men's basketball team set its title defense bid in motion, bucking a slow start en route to 76-73 victory over Thailand on Monday in the 31st Southeast Asian Games at the Thanh Tri Gymnasium.

June Mar Fajardo and Thirdy Ravena carried the scoring cudgels for Gilas Pilipinas as the San Miguel big man finished with a huge double-double of 28 points and 12 rebounds to go along with two blocks.

Ravena added 17 markers, six rebounds, three assists, and a steal while Moala Tautuaa chipped in nine points and five boards in the cause.

The wards of head coach Chot Reyes started to pull away in the third, building a 12-point spread of 48-36 after a Matthew Wright jumper but the Thais kept up with the Filipinos, ending the period behind by just six, 58-52.

Fajardo, though, took over in the fourth as they completed the win.

Antonio Price Soonthornchote led Thailand with 18 points, nine rebounds, and a steal while Morgan Mose chimed in with 15 markers and five rebounds.

Gilas had a tough start, trailing by as much as 10 late in the first half, 23-23, after Soonthornchote went for a layup to give Thailand a double-digit lead.

But the second quarter saw the Filipinos get their act together as they outscored the Thais in the frame, 25-13, with big man Fajardo leading the way with early 14-point production.

The first half ended with the Philippines enjoying a 38-34 cushion.

Gilas Pilipinas is looking to bag its 14th straight SEA Games title after ruling the 13 previous editions, including the 2019 edition that the country hosted in Manila.

—JMB, GMA News

This article June Mar Fajardo, Thirdy Ravena show way as Gilas escapes Thailand in SEA Games opener was originally published in GMA News Online.

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