Gilas bows out as Perlas sweeps FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup qualifiers
MANILA, Philippines – Perlas Pilipinas hardly broke a sweat in Day 2 of the 2019 FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup, drubbing Vanuatu, 22-5, in Changsa, China on Thursday, May 23.
Gilas Pilipinas, though, bowed out despite stringing two triumphs after surprise losses in Day 1.
Janine Pontejos, the 2018 FIBA 3x3 World Cup shootout champion, outscored Vanuatu by herself, 11-5, on 4 shots from beyond the arc while multi-time UAAP champion Afril Bernardino added 6 markers on 6 shots inside.
With the win, the Pat Aquino-coached squad cruised to the main draw with a 3-0 slate, joining Japan and Sri Lanka in Pool C.
As Perlas moved up in the tournament, the same could not be said for their Gilas counterparts.
Despite bouncing back with two straight wins over Iran and Samoa, the Ronnie Magsanoc-mentored team failed to advance as Qatar swept Pool A to clinch the main draw spot.
High school standout RJ Abarrientos still turned heads, however, as he led the undermanned Gilas squad to a massive 21-18 upset over Iran. There, he dropped a staggering 18 points on 7 shots from deep before piling on 14 more markers in their 22-15 win over Samoa.
The nephew of hoops legend Johnny Abarrientos even caught FIBA’s attention as they promptly gave him a video tribute on social media.
Abarrientos seized the opportunity to shine after the untimely ankle injury of team leader Ricci Rivero, who failed to suit up in Gilas’ last 3 games after going down in their opening loss to Thailand.