MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Women 3×3 advanced to the quarterfinals of the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2023 after splitting their assignments in pool play on Saturday, April 1, at the Singapore Sports Hub OCBC Square.
Top-seeded China (2-0), and ninth seed Philippines (1-1) emerged as the top two teams of Pool A to punch a ticket to the knockout quarterfinals on Sunday, while winless Iran (0-2), the seventh seed, went home early.
The women team’s success boosted the Philippines’ campaign after the Gilas Men 3×3 suffered an early exit in pool play.
The Filipina quartet, led by national team mainstays Afril Bernardino, Janine Pontejos, Clare Castro, and Khate Castillo, won its second contest of the day after surviving a tight affair against Iran, 16-14.
Pontejos, who led the team in scoring with 6 points built on two from downtown, nailed the stepback midrange jumper in the final 16 seconds for an insurmountable 16-13 advantage.
Iran’s Negin Rasoulipour then made the marginal basket just before time expired.
It was a close game throughout, with the two teams seeing their side either ahead or tied.
Following Somayeh Sabet Zadeh’s game-tying inside bucket off a dropstep move in the post at 11-11, Castillo swished a a two-pointer that gave the Filipinas the lead for good, 13-11, at the 2:30 mark.
The Iranians managed to trim the deficit to one, 13-12, and had a crack at tying the contest once again, but Bernardino stole the ball and made a quick layup to make it a 14-12 game in favor of the Philippines.
Castillo then made a tough reverse layup with her head away from the rim to give Gilas a 15-13 lead, before Iran airballed their game-tying attempt.
Following a turnover by the Filipinas, Iran looked for a shot inside the arc and missed, leading to the Pontejos jumper.
Rasoulipour paced Iran’s scoring with 5 points and 12 rebounds, while Sabet Zadeh chipped in 4 markers.
The Philippine victory came after Gilas Women bowed to China, 19-10, in their first assignment of the day.
Although the Filipinas sank to an early 6-1 hole against the Chinese, the Filipinas tried to put up a fight to come within 3, 6-3, after a layup by Bernardino.
But the Chinese halted the run and never looked back, leading by as many as 11, 18-7, after a deuce by Yi Zhang.
Lingge Zhang led China with 10 points and 5 rebounds, while Zhang Yi added 4 markers and 8 boards.
Bernardino knocked down 4 points and two boards for the Philippines, while Castro added 3 markers and hauled in 7 caroms. – Rappler.com
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