Perlas Pilipinas, the women’s national basketball team, fought tooth and nail against an experienced Thailand side before bowing down 57-62 Tuesday in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games tournament at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
The Philippines raced to an 8-2 lead in the opening quarter with the help of transition baskets from Afril Bernardino and Analyn Almazan, but Thailand fought back with an 8-0 run of their own to take the 10-8 lead.
From there it was a back and forth tussle before Thailand, the reigning gold medalist, taking control after triples from Penphan Yothanan pushed the lead to 32-23 entering the break.
The Thais managed to extend the lead to as high as 38-27, before the Philippines came with an onslaught of their own to open the fourth.
A triple by Sofia Roman jumpstarted a huge run that gave the upper hand back to the Philippines. Back to back baskets by Camille Sambile made it 44-43 while Bernardino added a field goal off an attack, 46-43.
But Thailand showed its composure despite a vaunted trap from the Philippines and squeezed in points inside the paint from as the Southeast Asian powerhouse took the 51-46 advantage.
Foul trouble hounded Perlas and allowed Thailand to make free throws, extending the lead to 58-50 with over two minutes left. Perlas then struggled from point-blank and fired blanks from the outside, allowing Thailand to escape with the win.
Jantakan led the Thailand side with 20 points while Penphan added 17 which she all scored in the first half. Bernardino had 19 points for Perlas even as Sambile and Analyn Almazan had 8 apiece.