NO longer in contention for promotion to Division A, Gilas Pilipinas Women look to salvage a bronze medal finish in the 2022 Fiba Under-16 Women’s Asian Championship Division B.
“Even though we weren’t happy with the result, I think this game will help our girls build their characters and understand that you gotta have poise when it’s a close game,” said Coach Julie Amos on the heels of the Philippines’ shock 88-70 loss to Samoa in the semifinals on Wednesday.
It is a bitter pill for the Pinays to swallow especially after running roughshod in the group stages with three wins to boot.
Yet Gilas Women picked the wrong time to have its guns muffled as it found itself on a hole it could not recover from, shooting just 21-percent from deep against Samoa after making 36-percent of its long bombs in its first three games.
Worse, Samoa dominated the Philippines on the paint, crashing the boards, 72 to 39, which led to 52 points in the paint and 19-second chance points in their favor.
After losing to Gilas 94-65 last June 26, the Samoans read the Philippines like a book in this one, stymieing the Filipinas’ speed and shooting.
The trio of Kira-May Filemu, Azaleeah Oloapu, and Sienna Tutani imposed their height and heft on Gilas in the first half, leading Samoa to a 53-30 halftime lead.
After the first 20 minutes of action, Oluapu and Tutani had already out-rebounded Gilas together, 21-15. Filemu, meanwhile, already tallied 20 points and nine rebounds.
Moreover, Gilas only shot 3-of-19 from deep during that span.
Oluapo gave Samoa its biggest lead of the game, 59-32, with 7:37 left in the third quarter.
The Filipinas tried to go on a late-game surge, cutting the lead 74-61 early in the final quarter. However, backbreakers by Filemu and Peata Manumaleuga sealed the final ticket for Samoa.
Frustration on the Gilas side reached its pitch when head coach Julie Amos was slapped with a technical foul with just 28.48 seconds left in the contest.
Gilas, who did not have lead point guard Kailah Oani in the game, went on a horrid 26-of-92 from the field.
Naomi Panganiban led the way with 15 points but shot just 5-of-15 from the field while Ava Fajardo got 14 points on 14 attempts.
Leading scorer Kristan Yumul added 13 points but went just 5-of-20 from the field. Gabby Ramos was limited to eight points and eight rebounds, as well.
Filemu, Oloapu, and Tutani all had monster games for Samoa.
Filemu finished with a Division B-record 36 points — breaking the 33-point mark set by Yumul four days ago. She also grabbed 15 rebounds.
Oloapu, meanwhile, grabbed 19 rebounds and scored 18 points while Tutani produced a triple-double of 11 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists.
“We knew the game was going to come down to points in the paint and unfortunately, Samoa created opportunities for themselves by targeting key matchups and crashing the offensive boards,” lamented coach Brian Rosario.
Past is past though, and Gilas Women is picking itself up, dusting itself off, and turning its sights to its final game as it plays for the bronze medal against Lebanon on Thursday.
“What we saw in the locker room after the game were eyes filled with fire and determination to finish this championship with a win,” said Rosario. “Our team is resilient. Filipinos are resilient, and the pride our team has for the country is shown in the way they play the game no matter the score.”
Amos ended: “Playing to win bronze will be our mission and I’m confident our girls will bounce back knowing that they got support from our coaching staff, the fans here in Jordan, and the people of the Philippines.”
Gilas will look to salvage a bronze finish in the second-tier, facing the loser of the Syria-Lebanon game on Thursday.
• Philippines 70 – Panganiban 15, Fajardo 14, Yumul 13, Ramos 8, Nolasco 8, Lopez 6, Patricio 4, Villarin 3, Medina 2, Elson 0, Nair 0.
• Samoa 88 – Filemu 36, Oloapu 18, Tutani 11, Manumaleuga 9, Keresoma 6, Hiko 4, Gasu 2, Talosaga 2, Brown 0, Kiliva 0, Hogben 0, Walshe 0.
Quarters: 18-25, 30-53, 53-72, 70-88.