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The dream is alive: Arayi fires 28 as Perlas storms back to clip Kazakhstan

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Blackwater-Perlas Pilipinas veteran, Ewon Arayi exploded with punch after punch in the fourth and overtime periods to carry the nationals back and steal the game, 80-73 in the 2015 FIBA Asia Women’s Championship Level II action, Wednesday in Wuhan, China.

Pitted in an all-important affair against Kazakhstan and down by 9 in the fourth period, Arayi scored 19 of her 28 points to help the Philippines come back, force extension, that eventually stunned the Kazakhs, and wound up with a 4-1 slate in Level II competition.

The Philippines earned themselves a playoff game for Level I promotion against either India or Thailand on Friday. A win in that relegation-promotion match will bring Perlas to Level I in the 2017 edition of the tournament.

Down 51-60 in the final quarter, Arayi hit back to back triples to pull Perlas within 57-60 with over 6 minutes left.

Ozana Ossipenko responded with a triple of her own, but the Philippines answered with an Allana Lim basket and a Shelley Gupilan trey to make it 63-62.

Turnovers and missed shots figured the final two minutes of regulation before Camille Sambile scored a split from the line to tie the count at 63 apiece, with 41 seconds remaining.

Yelena Dots turned the ball over in the next play, giving Perlas a chance to win it in regulation with 22 seconds to go although Gupilan and Lim missed their attempts.

In extension, Arayi made 9 straight points on her own, highlighted by two triples to make it 74-69 for the Philippines with under 3 minutes left.

A layup by Afril Bernardino off a turnover plus free throws by Andrea Tongco made it 78-70, as Perlas never went threatened after that point.

Arayi finished with 28 points to lead all scorers, including a perfect 12-for-12 from the stripe. Allana Lim added 17 points, while Bernardino hauled down 14 boards.

Perlas made 10 triples in the match, its best output, while also forcing a whopping 31 turnovers, which certainly dampened Kazakstan’s hopes.

The Scores:
Philippines (80) – Arayi 28, Lim 17, Tongco 10, Gupilan 10, Sambile 5, Roman 5, Bernardino 4, Borja 1, Resultay 0, Animam 0.
Kazakhstan (73) – Ossipenko 19, Yagodkina 19, Kurazova 14, Kondrakova 11, Vinokurova 6, Abdreupova 2, Ivanova 1, Dots 1, Mussalimova 0, Karnova 0, Ovechkina 0.
Quarterscores: 20-23, 33-32, 49-55, 63-63, 80-73.

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