MANILA, Philippines – Tied at 63-all at the end of regulation against Kazakhstan, the Philippine women’s basketball team needed a hero. And in one of their most consistent players so far at the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship, they found one.
Merenciana Arayi exploded for 13 of the Philippines’ 17 points in the 5-minute extra period to push the Philippines past Kazakhstan and give the Philippines its best finish at the bi-annual meet since it switched to a 5-game group stage format. The Philippines had finished 3-2 at the 2013 installment in Thailand.
The Philippines, competing in Group B, lost its opening match to Malaysia before defeating North Korea, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong in succession heading into a match with Kazakhstan, which entered with a 3-1 record as well. The Philippines will win its group outright even if North Korea defeats Hong Kong at 1 pm due to the Philippines’ one point victory over them.
Arayi topscored with 28 points to go along with 5 rebounds while Allana Lim added 17 points.
The Philippines will play sixth seeded India from Group A on Friday at 3 pm with the winner to be included in the top tier competition of FIBA Asia for the next two years, a representative from Samahang ng Basketbol Pilipinas tells Rappler. India has gone 0-4 so far in group play and will play South Korea later today. – Rappler.com