Recap: SEABA 2017 Championships

Gilas Pilipinas - SEABA 2017 Champions

Gilas Pilipinas walked away with the gold medal in the 2017 SEABA Championships in Manila after sweeping six other countries in the competition.

With the triumph, the national team booked a trip to the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup and the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualification process.

Gilas Pilipinas - 2017 SEABA Championship

Although it was the Philippines which reigned supreme in the tournament, other countries also had their share of the spotlight. Here is the team-by-team recap of the tournament.

Record: 6-0
Game results:
Def. Myanmar, 147-40.
Def. Singapore, 113-66.
Def. Malaysia, 106-51.
Def. Thailand, 108-53.
Def. Vietnam, 107-52.
Def. Indonesia, 97-64.

One thing stood true after seven days of action in the 2017 SEABA: Gilas Pilipinas is still the best country in the region when it comes to basketball, by a big margin.

They averaged 113 points a game, beating their opponents by an average of 58.7 points. They were the top three-pointing team percentage-wise at 36.4 percent, and the top rebounding and assists-making team with 51.3 RPG and 27.7 APG.

The Philippines was led by five players who averaged in double-digits throughout the tournament. As expected, Andray Blatche carried the team with his 14 PPG, 8 RPG, and 1.4 BPG while shooting close to 60 percent from the floor.

Other standouts were Calvin Abueva (13.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.5 SPG) and sharpshooter Matthew Wright (12 PPG, 54.5 percent three-point shooting).

Jamarr Johnson

Record: 5-1
Game results:
Def. Singapore, 71-50.
Def. Malaysia, 63-42.
Def. Thailand, 60-59.
Def. Vietnam, 95-52.
Def. Myanmar, 123-50.
Lost to Philippines, 97-64.

Indonesia was billed as the best team outside of the Philippines heading into the tournament, and the nation did not disappoint.

Save for Gilas, Indonesia defeated all of their opponents by a considerable average margin as well. That was even if naturalized player Jamarr Johnson and Indonesian-American Arki Wisnu were unable to play their first four games.

Abraham Grahita, who was solid throughout the games with his 13.2-point, 2.8-rebound, and 2.2-assist average, led Indonesia. Spot-up shooter Sandy Kurniawan was another standout, averaging 11.5 PPG. Most of his baskets came from deep, as he averaged 3.2 three-point makes per game on a 47.5-percent clip.

Johnson and Wisnu were both able to play towards the latter part of the tournament. Should Indonesia be able to keep the core, the future is bright for them.

Thailand vs Malaysia

Record: 4-2
Game results:
Def. Malaysia, 74-67.
Def. Vietnam, 76-49.
Lost to Indonesia, 60-59.
Def. Myanmar, 102-35.
Lost to Philippines, 108-53.
Def. Singapore, 67-57.

One of the players who had hype surrounding him prior to the start of SEABA was Chitchai Ananti, and he was able to live up to the billing right from Thailand’s very first game, dropping 24 points against Malaysia.

He went on to average 16.3 PPG, the second-best in the tournament. Another standout was Wutipong Dasom, who averaged 11.4 PPG. He was able to score a tournament-high 40 points in their win over Myanmar.

Thailand competed each night, and given that they were a basket away from stealing silver from Indonesia, fans can expect them to give problems to the rest of Southeast Asia in games to come.

Record: 3-3
Game results:
Lost to Thailand, 74-67.
Lost to Indonesia, 63-42.
Lost to Philippines, 106-51.
Def. Singapore, 45-41.
Def. Vietnam, 86-85.
Def. Myanmar, 96-71.

Malaysia placing fourth and winning three games while fielding a younger line-up to the competition is already an achievement for the country.

Ting Chun Hong was a revelation for them, topscoring for the squad with 12.7 PPG. He also averaged 3.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, and 1.7 SPG while shooting 45.5 percent from three-point distance. Choo Wei Hong (9.3 PPG), Liaw Chee Huei (8.3 PPG), and Heng Yee Tong (7.8 PPG) also stepped up for the Malaysian side.

Of course, the highlight of their run was a close win over more experienced Singapore side. Momentum is definitely on their side as Malaysia heads home. They will be hosting the SEA Games a few months from now, and with their veterans joining them back, they could make a solid case for a podium finish in the biennial meet.

Singapore SEABA 2017

Record: 2-4
Game results:
Lost to Indonesia, 71-50.
Lost to Philippines, 113-66.
Lost to Malaysia, 45-41.
Def. Myanmar, 85-32.
Lost to Thailand, 67-57.
Def. Vietnam, 73-60.

Despite fielding a veteran team to the SEABA, Singapore disappointed, only racking up two wins against lowly opponents.

Wong Wei Long, Ng Han Bin, Larry Liew, Leon Kwek, and Delvin Goh, members of the ABL club team Singapore Slingers, were all part of the SEABA line-up, but most of the time, they were unable to deliver when Singapore needed a boost.

Still, it’s a learning experience for them, and come the SEA Games, they should be in better form.

Vietnam Player Roster SEABA 2017

Record: 1-5
Game results:
Lost to Thailand, 76-49.
Def. Myanmar, 77-44.
Lost to Indonesia, 95-52.
Lost to Malaysia, 86-85.
Lost to Philippines, 107-52.
Lost to Singapore, 73-60.

The mere fact Vietnam participated in the tournament is already a good sign for the future of basketball in the country. Vietnam entered the tournament parading only nine players as scheduling problems hit their three other key players.

But Donte Hill’s troops managed to challenge some squads, particularly Malaysia in a game they could have won and Singapore in another match where they competed well only to lose grip of the game in the end.

Center Nguyen Van Hung paced the team with 11.8 PPG and 10.2 RPG, the only player in the tournament to average in double-double. Guard Trieu Han Minh added 11.5 PPG.

Vietnam has shown they have locals who can play competitively each night, and it is now a matter of being consistent in the SEA Games.

Record: 0-6
Game results:
Lost to Philippines, 147-40.
Lost to Vietnam, 77-44.
Lost to Thailand, 102-35.
Lost to Singapore, 85-32.
Lost to Indonesia, 123-50.
Lost to Malaysia, 96-71.

Even though Myanmar didn’t win a single game in the SEABA, they earned the respect of the tournament after showing they can play organized ball.

Wing man Wana Aung stole the spotlight himself with his acrobatic lay-ups and nifty passing. Wana was in fact the leading scorer of the entire tournament with 16.8 PPG.

Myanmar is the youngest team in the league and the lowest ranked. They came in just trying to gain more exposure, and it’s safe to say that after six games, they will be exiting with more experience and confidence.

Written by Levi Verora Jr
Photos by Glenn Michael Tan

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