Gilas’ promotion bid crumbles

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star
Gilasâ promotion bid crumbles
Gabby Ramos of Gilas Pilipinas youth girls team.

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas girls’ youth team kissed its Division A promotion hopes goodbye after a stinging 88-73 defeat at the hands of Samoa in the Division B semifinals of the 2022 FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship in Amman, Jordan.

The previously unbeaten Gilas struggled big time when it mattered most, firing blanks and getting outworked by the Samoan side that it trounced in the group phase with a dominant 94-65 win.

With a finals slot on the line, the Nationals started flat, stared at a mammoth 27-point deficit and eventually crashed out of the hunt for Division A promotion.

Naomi Panganiban led the fight with 15 points, three rebounds, three assists and four steals for the Filipina teens, who only shot 28-percent from the field and were outrebounded, 39-72.

Even the contributions of Ava Fajardo (14) and Kristan Yumul (13) were not enough for Gilas, which bled for a mere 22-percent clip from downtown.

The meltdown was a big dive from their domination of Group A play.

Kira-May Filemu went berserk in Samoa’s complete reversal with 36 points and 15 rebounds, surpassing Yumul’s tournament-best 33 markers during the group stage.

Aside from a big win over Samoa, Gilas also trampled Indonesia, 104-68, before escaping Syria with a close 92-86 victory in the preliminaries to boost its Division A bid only to fumble in the Final Four.

Interestingly, Samoa will face Syria in a Cinderella finals match-up after the latter’s 78-63 upset of Lebanon in the other semis pairing for the Division B supremacy and a promotion ticket to the Division A.

Gilas, for its part, was to play Lebanon last night to salvage the bronze medal.


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