After three straight blowout victories, Gilas Cadets finally encountered a gritty foe in no other than host Thailand.
The Philippine National team weathered a gutsy Thai squad to snatch a pivotal victory, 66-65, and stay unscathed in the 2015 SEABA Stankovic Cup.
Trailing 60-63 with 1:54 remaining in the final canto, UAAP 78 finalists Mike Tolomia of the FEU Tamaraws and Kevin Ferrer of the UST Tigers who were struggling all game came back to life as they sank back-to-back cold-blooded treys to steal the lead 66-63.
Tolomia registered 9 points and 9 rebounds on 4-of-12 shooting while Ferrer finished 7 markers and 2 boards on 2-of-11 field goals.
The Gilas Cadets trailed at the half, 32-33, due to an awful 0-of-17 3-point shooting.
After Gilas regained control of the game with a slight cushion of 54-49 with 8 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, Thailand quickly retaliated with a 14-6 run to snatch a 63-60 lead with still under 2 minutes to play.
Though Thailand had a chance to take away the game off a missed trey by Ferrer with 27 ticks remaining, Gilas still held on to escape with the victory.
Team Captain Jeth Troy Rosario of Tropang TNT topscored with 20 points and 10 boards while UAAP Finals MVP Mac Belo added 18 markers, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Meanwhile, C. Ananti led Thailand with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. N. Jaisanuk added 12 markers and 4 boards.
After finising the tournament as the Top 2 teams, Gilas Cadets and Thailand will slug it out for the 2016 SEABA Stankovic Cup Saturday afternoon in Bangkok, Thailand. – By John Bryan Ulanday