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Perlas gold medal hopes dim after dropping heart-breaker to Indonesia

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Perlas Pilipinas collapsed towards the end of a tighty-contest and all-important duel against Indonesia, dropping a 56-61 decision Friday in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games women’s basketball tournament at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.

Given a chance to secure the gold medal by sweeping its remaining contests, the Philippines let the opportunity slip away after squandering a 12-point lead early in the contest.

Indonesia was still down 11-23 early in the second quarter before responding with a 10-2 run to trim the deficit to 21-25. The Indons relied on the outside shooting of Natasha Christaline and the towering presence of Sophia Gabriel during the run, and went on to snatch the lead 38-29 halfway in the third quarter after a triple by Marlina Herawan.

Refusing to roll over and die just yet, the Philippines used a rally in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 46-all with Camille Sambile and Allana Lim inflicting damage. Perlas forced turnovers and made baskets in transition to knot the score.

From there it was a back and forth tussle with two free throws from Herawan giving Indonesia a 55-52 cushion. Raiza Palmera responded with a put back on the other end to make it 54-55, before a drive by Afril Bernardino pushed Perlas ahead, 56-55.

Foul trouble hounded the Philippines however as Christaline knocked down pressure-packed free throws, giving Indonesia a solitary point lead.

In the next play coming off a timeout, Cambile Sambile tried to post up but committed a crucial dribbling violation, which led to two more free throws courtesy of Herawan.

Perlas was never able to score afterwards, running out of time as they lost control of the chance to win the gold.

Christaline led all scorers with 19 points while Gabriel finished with an 18-point, 17-rebound production even as Herawan added 14.

Palmera paced the Philippines — which takes on Singapore on Monday — with 12 points while Bernardino added 11.

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