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Perlas struggles, falls to Malaysia in FIBA Asia opener



Blackwater-Perlas Pilipinas struggled to find rhythm in its 2015 FIBA Asia Women’s Championship opener, succumbing to Malaysia, 71-64, in Level II action Friday in Wuhan, China.

The Philippines put up a brave fight, knocking on the door several times but Malaysia was able to dodge the bullets time and again to preserve the win.

Both teams struggled to find the offensive flow early on, although it was Malaysia which held the lead early on, 9-3. A basket and free throws by Andrea Tongco gave the Philippines its first taste of the lead at 10-9.

Malaysia’s outside sniping then made impact as the team broke a 14-all deadlock using a 11-2 run highlighted by back to back triples from Fook Yee Yap to extend the margin to 25-16. Malaysia made six triples in the first half alone.

From there, it was a back and forth affair with the Philippines riding on the strength of Allana Lim underneath in an attempt to reverse the tides.

Baskets by Lim gave Perlas a 38-37 lead midway in the third quarter, but Malaysia once again countered with a 17-8 rally to push the gap to 55-46 heading into the final quarter.

The Philippines made one final attempt to steal the game, as and and-one play by Lim followed by a triple by Merenciana Arayi and a basket by Jack Danielle Animam powered a 10-2 Perlas run making it only a 63-61 lead for Malaysia.

But the opponents answered with a strong response, scoring three straight to bury the Philippines’ hopes.

Lim led the Filipinas with 17 points and 8 rebounds although shot 7-for-19 from the field. Camille Sambile added 9 points while Arayi and Cindy Resultay chipped in 8 points each.

The Philippines struggled from the three-point line, firing only at a 4-of-20 clip while also missing over half of its 25 free-throw attempts.

Malaysia in contrast assisted 17 of its 23 field goal makes, showing cohesion and experience over the Perlas crew.

Eugene Ting paced the squad with 17 points while Magdalene Low and Fook Yee Yap added 15 and 10, respectively.

The Scores:
Malaysia (71) – Ting 17, Low 15, Yap 10, Wong 8, Saw 7, Pang 5, Choo 4, Tai 2, Chong 2, Ng 1.
Philippines (64) – Lim 17, Sambile 9, Arayi 8, Resultay 8, Tongco 7, Bernardino 6, Animam 5, Borja 2, Gupilan 2, Dy 0, Roman 0, Miranda 0.
Quarterscores: 14-11, 31-25, 57-46, 71-64

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