HANOI, Vietnam – Bolstered by its rousing opening-day win over Indonesia, the Philippine women’s basketball team faces a big test Wednesday in the 31st Southeast Asian Games here when it battles a Thai side seeking revenge Tat the hanh Tri Gymnasium.
The game is set at 9 a.m. (10 a.m. Philippine time), with coach Pat Aquino hoping his wards can play excellent defense anew as they did in their 93-77 victory over Indonesia last Monday.
Thailand, whose stranglehold on the women’s cage gold was ended by the Gilas women in the 2019 Games, also passed its initial test last Monday but was shaky in a 70-67 win over Malaysia.
“Hopefully, we get that momentum going into the other games, especially against Thailand. We have to have a great game again like this. I’m just happy that they were doing their best. Talagang sobrang saya ko,” Aquino said after their win over Indonesia, where Afril Bernardino and Janine Pontejos led scoring with 16 and 15, respectively.
More importantly, the team put up a great defense that led to 18 steals.
“They had a great game defending. We had 18 steals and forced them (Indons) to turnovers. ‘Yun ‘yung advantage namin. It’s like our offense. We play good defense, that’s our offense. Sumama pa ‘yung shooting. All the hustle was there. Hope to sustain everything,” said Aquino.
The Philippines shares the early lead with Thailand and host Vietnam in the seven-team eliminations, with the top-ranked nation at the end of the tourney winning the gold medal.
Vietnam beat Singapore in the other game last Monday.