Still fiery after loss of gold, Gilas women take silver

Jack Animam (left) and the Gilas women continued playing hard even after the gold was already out of reach.  —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ARIYA KURNIAWAN

Jack Animam (left) and the Gilas women continued playing hard even after the gold was already out of reach. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ARIYA KURNIAWAN

Apart from the gold, there was another standard Patrick Aquino held his wards to.

“[W]e came here for our country, to represent our country well,” the women’s national coach and program director said. “We had to finish whatever we were doing here.”

The Philippines came out of the gates hard on Monday to roll past Malaysia, 77-63, to salvage a silver medal in the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games women’s basketball competition, never wavering in his dedication to play every game like it was the championship despite reaching the end of its two-edition reign in the region.

Janine Pontejos shot the basketball with deadly accuracy early on at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to set the tone for Gilas women, which finished the showcase with a 5-1 mark.

Pontejos finished with 24 points while Khate Castillo added 18 more in the effort. Camille Clarin had nine while Jack Animam tossed in six points and 13 rebounds as the Filipinos now turn their sights to the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Women’s Asia Cup that will be held in Australia next month.

“Giving everything all the time and never giving up, that has been our rallying cry,” Aquino said after the contest.

“Unfortunately, we fell short of a gold (medal). But silver’s good enough for us,” he added.

The Philippines was shooting for a three-peat in this showcase before running into a loaded Indonesia side. Gilas suffered a 21-point humbling in that contest, which dealt a significant blow to their campaign.

Indonesia went on to sweep the tournament last Sunday with an 86-39 drubbing of Singapore, effectively knocking the Gilas Pilipinas women off their thrones.

Hui Pin Pang had 15 points, while Yin Yin Chong added 10 for Malaysia which settled for a bronze medal in a repeat of its finish in the previous edition of the SEA Games held in Vietnam. I

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