Though she looked poised all throughout the 2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup Shoot-out competition, Janine Pontejos admitted that she had been shaking the whole time.
After knocking down just two baskets in the first rack, Pontejos heated up, converting eight straight buckets during the second and third racks. Then during the bonus rack, the product of Centro Escolar Univesity banged two two-balls for a 14-point total.
“Sobra po akong kinakabahan. Umpisa pa lang nanlalamig na kamay ko,” she disclosed. “Sobrang hirap po kasi ang lakas ng ano ng aircon eh ang nipis ko po. So kailangan pawisan ako.
“Nung maglalaro na ako, sobrang lamig pa rin ako. Kinamayan nila ako, malamig pa rin kamay ko. Inimagine ko na lang, nagdri-drills lang kami so buti na lang lumabas yung shooting ko,” she quipped.
Making matters worse, she had to wait for the official announcement, as her 14 points were knotted with Russian Alexandra Stolyar. Pontejos won the tiebreaker as she clocked a time of 41.86 seconds – eight seconds faster than her Russian foe.
“Sobra po. Nag-pray na lang ako kay God kung ano yung kalabasan. Proud pa rin ako na kahit second or third man makuha ko, basta makapasok ako dito sa finals,” she admitted.
And it was a historic victory for the 25-year-old gunslinger, as her gold is the first-ever medal of a Filipino in the four years of the FIBA World Cup. And she dedicates this to every Filipino out there.
“Sa akin, yung gold medal na ‘to, pinagmamalaki ko na ito yung first natin sa 3×3,” she beamed. “Ito po yung first gold medal natin World Cup.
“Sobrang proud po ako na ako po yung nakakuha nito. Ipinagmamalaki ko po na Pilipino ako — na para sa Pilipinas ito!”