Gilas Pilipinas Women proved they can keep toe to toe with not only Asia’s finest but also the world’s best.
The ranked 42 Filipinas endgame rally against world no. 12 fell short, falling 71-80 to finish in sixth place in the 2023 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup on Saturday at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre in Australia.
This is the Philippines’ best finish in the continental meet in 39 years or since finishing fourth in the tournament held in Shanghai, China.
Trailing by as many as 19 points in the contest, the Filipinas put on a huge endgame rally that gave the Koreans a scare.
From a 66-55 deficit to start the final frame, Afril Bernardino, Jack Animam and Vanessa De Jesus joined hands, chopping the lead down to 76-71 with 3:08 to play after a three-point play by the Duke Blue Devil.
However, a costly turnover by Bernardino led to a Park Jihyun layup to stop the Korea’s bleeding. A basket by Park Jisu, moments later, sealed fifth place for the WKBL pros-laden squad.
Bernardino led the Philippines stand with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field with nine rebounds while Animam added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Khate Castillo fired 12 points on three triples while De Jesus capped her Gilas debut with five points, five assists, and four rebounds.
Both the Philippines and Korea fell to Oceania teams in the play-in with the former losing to New Zealand, 83-78, while the latter was romped by Australia, 91-64.
Park Jihyun finished with 24 points for Korea while Park Jisu tallied 11 points and 16 rebounds.
Kim Danbi and Shin Jihyun finished with 14 and 11 markers, respectively.
Philippines 71 – Bernardino 16, Animam 12, Castillo 12, Joson 9, De Jesus 5, Pontejos 5, Cabinbin 4, Fajardo 3, Clarin 3, Surada 2, Ozar 0.
Korea 80 – Park JH 24, Kim 14, Park JS 11, Shin 11, Lee S 9, Kang 6, Jin 2, Yang 2, An 1, Lee K 0.
Quarterscores: 19-18, 34-44, 55-66, 71-80.