TWO games away from winning the 31st SEA Games crown, Gilas Pilipinas is not to look back. Neither the Nationals are looking far ahead.
Coach Chot Reyes and his troops are focused on their fifth game in the Hanoi Games on Saturday. They need to handle Malaysia first and make sure to win the game. Then they can think of Indonesia for their virtual gold-medal match Sunday.
It's two games away from completing their mission to deliver a 14th straight SEA Games crown. Or it would be a black day in case of an epic fail.
The first of the two remaining obstacles is Malaysia, traditionally the biggest threat to the Philippines in the biennial regional meet.
For the record, Malaysia was the Philippines' tormentor in two SEAG editions that the Filipinos failed to win in 1979 and 1989.
But since the 1989 debacle in Jakarta, Team Philippines has kept a firm grip on the championship cherished the most at home.
The Nationals are the reigning 13-time champs and ride the momentum of a four-game run in Hanoi as they tangle with the Malaysians at 11 a.m. at the Thanh Tri District Sporting Hall.
The Malaysians, meanwhile, are at 2-2, with victories over Cambodia (62-41) and Singapore (75-58) and losses to Indonesia (95-92 in overtime) and Thailand (92-45). They're to play the host team Friday night.
Coach Batumalai Guganeswaran and his troops are virtually out of the medal race. They're looking to play the spoiler's role. (SB)