HANOI, Vietnam – Heroines came in abandon as the Philippine women’s squad whipped rival Thailand 97-81, Wednesday for its second straight win in women’s basketball of the 31st Southeast Asian Games at the Thanh Tri Gymnasium here.
Afril Bernardino showed the way with 20 points and 16 rebounds as the Gilas women’s squad took the lead in the round-robin tournament where the top placer wins the gold.
Four consecutive threes from Fil-Am rookie Stefanie Berberabe, Chack Cabinbin, Janine Pontejos, and Gabi Bade, another US-based player making her SEA Games debut, sparked a big charge that turned a 27-25 lead into a 39-27 bubble in the second period.
“I’m just so happy again. They really worked hard and competed at the start. Sabi ko nga sa inyo, let’s just continue what we are doing. Wala naman tayong dapat baguhin. Sana dere-derecho lang,” said coach Pat Aquino.
Berberabe, a product of Westmont College in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), had 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals while Katrina Guytingco chipped in 10 points. Cabinbin, Clare Castro and Bade each had nine markers.
The Philippines tries to stay unbeaten when it battles Vietnam Thursday at 5 p.m. (6 p.m. Philippine time)
“Lagi nating sinasabi na take one game at a time. We are going to be ready with Vietnam tomorrow. We will prepare harder. I know it’s going to be difficult against the host country. But we will do our very best,” said Aquino.
The Thais, who dominated women’s basketball for decades until they were unseated by Gilas in the 2019 SEA Games, pulled within two points in the second quarter. But that was the closest they got as Gilas stepped on the gas en route to victory.
Philippines 97 – Bernardino 20, Berberabe 10, Guytingco 10, Bade 9, Cabinbin 9, Castro 9, Castillo 7, Pontejos 7, Tongco 7, Fajardo 6, Surada 3, Clarin 0.
Thailand 81 – Thunchanok 14, Thidaporn 13, Sriharaksa 13, Warunee 12, Juthamas 11, Rattiyakorn 8, Amphawa 5, Rujiwan 2, Pimchosita 2, Penphan 1, Atchara 0, Kanokwan 0.
Quarters: 22-16; 57-40; 80-59; 97-81.