MANILA, Philippines – Australia outlasted a valiant charge by the Philippines, 21-16, in the 2019 FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup women’s knockout quarterfinals in Changsa, China on Sunday, May 26.
The loss wrapped up the Philippine delegation's campaign as the Gilas Pilipinas women’s team’s male counterpart earlier got the boot in the group phase.
Janine Pontejos, the 2018 FIBA World Cup shootout champion, led the Filipinas’ last stand with 8 points, all coming off long twos. Multi-time UAAP champions Afril Bernardino and Jack Animam combined for 7 markers while FEU stalwart Clare Castro tallied one point, albeit a crucial one.
Pontejos showcased her range early in the contest to help Gilas get a 4-1 jump over the Opals.
However, Madeleine Garrick spearheaded a 4-0 run for the 5-4 lead off a putback layup.
Australia held on to a slim lead as the game wore on, off a helping of twos and free throws.
The Filipinas in turn got as near as one, 15-16, off a slick fadeaway jumper from Castro with 2:51 to play, but ultimately lost grip as Alice Kunek connected on a pull-up two for the 18-15 lead.
With just a minute to go in the game, Kunek then drained the and-one layup and sank the bonus from the line for the 21-mark finish.
Kunek went off for 13 points in the game with 3 long twos and a pair of free throws.
It was a valiant showing for the Filipina contingent, who turned heads in China after setting the FIBA 3x3 record for largest winning margin in their 21-1 demolition of Samoa.
History almost repeated itself in the qualifiers for the Patrick Aquino-coached squad as they routed Vanuatu, 22-5, and Sri Lanka, 21-6. They, however, ate up an 8-20 loss to Japan before entering the quarterfinals.
Australia 21 - Kunek 13, Cole 4, Garrick 2, Zavecz 2.
Philippines 16 - Pontejos 8, Bernardino 5, Animam 2, Castro 1.