After six long years, a women’s basketball team was able to win a gold medal for the Philipines in the SEABA (Southeast Asian Basketball Association) Women’s Championship in Malacca, Malaysia.
The Perlas Pilipinas team became the latest gold medalist in the tournament after pulling off a gripping 77-73 win over Malaysia on Saturday at the Bukit Serindit Indoor Stadium.
It was the fifth-straight win in as many games for the Filipinas, who have already secured the gold medal regardless of their game against Thailand on Sunday.
Even if the Philippines loses to Thailand, only Malaysia could catch up with the Blackwater Women – backed team at 5-1.
By virtue of the win over the other rule, the Philippines will still be declared as the champion.
“This is defining moment for Philippine women’s basketball. I’m happy for the girls. I’m happy for the country. We did it,” said Perlas Pilipinas coach Patrick Aquino.
Allana Lim led the way for Perlas Pilipinas with 16 points while two other mainstays, Afril Bernardino and Ambi Almazan finished with a double-double performance.
Bernardino tallied 14 points and 10 boards while Almazan had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Perlas Pilipinas, which equalled the feat of the 2010 Philippine women’s team.
But the Philippines had to survive a late rally by Malaysia, which held the Filipinas without a field goal in the last three and a half minutes.
The Philippines saw its 15-point lead in the final three and a half minutes as Malaysia unloaded an 11-0 run.
Malaysia was in the thick of the fight and came within 77-73 in the closing seconds and got a big break when Raiza Dy missed a point blank range, but the Malaysians turned the ball over, allowing the Filipinas to secure the win.
Behind Lim and Bernardino, who hit eight points apiece in the first half, Perlas Pilipinas was able to take its first sizeable advantage before settling for a nine-point halftime lead, 43-34.
The Filipinas’ pressure defense was able to catch the
Malaysians flatfooted as the host country committed 19 turnovers, resulting to 10 turnover points for Perlas Pilipinas.
Perlas Pilipinas’ dominance continued in the second half anda buzzer-beating triple from Shelley Gupilan pushed the Philippines lead to 15, 64-49. The lead was padded a bit more in the early goings of the fourth quarter as a fast break from Janine Pontejos gave the squad its biggest lead, 71-51.