Gilas girls posted back-to-back victories to advance to the semifinals of the FIBA U18 Women’s Asian Championship Division B at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in Bangalore, India.
The Nationals drew firepower from Filipino-American guard Sumayah Sugapong in booking a 66-59 win over Samoa late Tuesday before returning the following day to hammer an emphatic 110-28 victory over Maldives to sweep Group A and gain an outright semifinal berth.
Sugapong, a 15-year-old guard from La Jolla Country Day in California, erupted for 28 points while Kristan Yumul was also impressive, firing 16 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Filipinas, who took advantage of the Samoans shaky executions down the stretch to pull off the victory.
Kate Bobadilla, who had a game-high 22 points in their 65-50 win over Thailand in the opener, added eight markers and nine boards.
More than his wards’ individual performances, Gilas head coach Patrick Aquino said the key to their victory was their cohesion and fluidity as they are determined to get back after losing in the FIBA U16 Asian Women’s Championship last June that relegated them to Division B.
“As we’ve said, we are the shortest team here but we have the biggest heart. They were really determined and wanted to get back after losing to them in the U16 tournament,” said Aquino, who had five players scoring in double figures in their 82-point crushing of Maldives.
They raced to a 21-6 lead to dictate the tempo and ballooned the deficit to as many as 85 with Louna Ozar leading the way with 22 markers.
He said the girls have to remember that they have to do their best because they are playing for the country.
“The win was a matter of having one another and playing together,” Aquino said.
“Whoever scores, makes a good pass, steal, makes a good rebound or does good defense, it scores for everyone. Remember why you are here: You are representing the country.”
Aquino said their job is far from done.
“We have to stay focused on our goal. This isn’t over yet,” Aquino said.
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