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Mission accomplished: Perlas Pilipinas survives India to crack FIBA Asia Level I

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Philippine women’s basketball has arrived.

Perlas Pilipinas overcame a poor start and relied on its firepower in the third quarter to book an 82-76 victory over India in the 2015 FIBA Asia Women’s Championship relegation-promotion match Friday in Wuhan, China.

The win enabled the Philippines to enter Level I of the next edition of the tournament in 2017.

The Philippines knocked down six triples in the third quarter as the team outscored India 26-16 to build a commanding 65-53 lead entering the fourth period.

Perlas opened the third frame on a 13-0 blast with Shelley Gupilan hitting three triples in the stretch to give the team a 52-37 lead.

Back to back long range baskets by Merenciana Arayi made it 62-43 as the Philippines recorded its biggest lead of the match.

India countered with a 10-3 rally including five points from Anitha Paul Durai as the South Asian nation made it a more manageable deficit, 53-65.

Later in the fourth quarter, Jeena Skaria carried India back in the game with basket after basket as she pulled her team to within 71-74 with just above two minutes remaining.

India erased a double-digit Perlas lead in the stretch, as they went on a 16-7 rally.

Ewon Arayi and Allana Lim then scored for the Philippines to create more distance at 79-72, before a dagger of a basket by Afril Bernardino made it 81-74 for the nationals.

Bernardino exploded for a game-high 32 points including 19 in the first half, and added 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals.

Lim added 20 points and 9 rebounds, while Arayi chipped in 12 points.

Skaria paced India, which dropped to Level II, with 28 points. Earlier, DPR Korea defeated Thailand, 66-50 to make Level I.

With a spot in Level I, the Philippines joins powerhouses China, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and Korea for the next tournament and will have a chance to vie for one of the slots at stake in the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Championship.

Scores:

Philippines (82) – Bernardino 32, Lim 20, Arayi 12, Gupilan 11, Borja 4, Roman 3, Sambile 0, Tongco 0, Animam 0, Resultay 0, Miranda 0.

India (76) – Skaria 28, Paul Durai 19, Subhashmon 11, Radhakrishnan 9, Limaye 4, Mahesha, 3, Rajaganapathi 0, Nixon 0.

Quarterscores: 16-22, 39-37, 65-53, 82-76.

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