Gilas Girls moved closer to completing its redemption tour by reaching the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship 2023-Division B Final after beating Malaysia in the Semis, 79-44, Saturday at the Prince Hamza Sport Hall in Amman.
Similar to its win over hosts Jordan to enter the knockout stage, the Philippines turned the game around by way of another 30-point assault in the second chapter on the way to kicking its Southeast Asian rivals out of title contention.
Now, they face Iran in the finale on Sunday, an opportunity that they’ve all been preparing for as they hope to exorcise the ghost of the past and earn the Division A promotion this time.
Ava Fajardo showed how badly she wants to settle that unfinished business as the returning guard led the way with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.
The 15-year-old standout out of New Jersey helped orchestrate the aforementioned rally, which saw her squad open the said period with 14 unanswered points for a 29-13 lead with 6:32 on the clock as momentum completely swung in their favor.
Ariel De La O supplied 10 points and 15 rebounds, while Aubrey Lapasaran submitted a full line of 10 markers, five boards, three dimes, a steal, and a block as a total of 10 players were on the scoreboard in the triumph.
The Malaysians, on the other hand, were led by the 16 points of Ophelia Wong Shing Ting in the loss. Ke Xin Lee backed her up with 13 points.
Silver medalists in the 2017 Division B competitions, Malaysia will try to salvage a bronze finish against Hong Kong in the battle for third also set on Sunday.
Philippines 79 – Fajardo 20, De La O 10, Lapasaran 10, Nair 9, Smith 9, Canindo 7, Sayson 6, Arnaldo 3, Mercado 3, Palma 2, Navarro 0.
Malaysia 44 – Wong 16, Lee K. 13, Oh 8, Yap 4, Ting 2, Chen 1, Ang 0, Lee L. 0, Soo 0, Hin 0, Tan 0, Tea 0.
Quarterscores: 15-13, 45-27, 66-35, 79-44