Gilas Pilipinas smothers Indonesia for 8th SEABA crown

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Photo courtesy of PBA Media Bureau

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 18) — They were the two best teams in the competition, but the Philippines just proved to be a step higher.

Gilas Pilipinas swept the South East Asian Basketball (SEABA) Championship after handing Indonesia their only loss of the tournament, 97-64, on Thursday night at the Big Dome.

The victory not only gave the Philippines the title, but granted them a ticket to the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup and the World Cup Qualifiers.

Andray Blatche led the Philippines with 21 markers and 10 rebounds, while Jayson Castro and JuneMar Fajardo had 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Both teams came in to the final game of the tournament with 5-0 records, with the Philippines and Indonesia winning their previous matches by a combined margin of 319 and 159 points, respectively.

But there was no doubt that the Philippines was a class above Indonesia by halftime, with the hosts cradling a 51-30 cushion going into the break.

There were no surprises for the home supporters, as Gilas duly took care of business and sealed their eighth SEABA crown.

Arki Dikania Wisnu paced Indonesia with 11 points.

After the championship win, Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said that this was just a first step in a series of challenges on the international stage.

The Gilas coach also said there were key takeaways from the tournament moving forward.

"I think the most important lessons are the lessons the players learned about themselves, about each other," Reyes said. "I think there are some things that the other coaches, other teams were doing that I think we can incorporate in the way we do things, both offensively and defensively."

The Philippines will go to Lebanon in August for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup.