By REYNALD MAGALLON
Gilas Pilipinas Women absorbed a thorough beatdown at the hands of China, 143-52, in its FIBA Women’s Asia Cup opener at the Prince Hamza Hall in Ammam, Jordan on Monday, September 27.
Boasting a large height advantage over the smaller Filipinas, China shrugged off early resistance from Gilas as it comfortably built a commanding lead that immediately took the fight out of its opponents.
China quickly embarked to a 15-3 spurt to open the game but Gilas unleashed its own 7-0 counter to pull within five, 15-10, and keep a close gap with the Asian powerhouse.
The fightback was shortlived, however, as the Chinese started to break the game wide open following a blistering 20-7 run to end the first quarter. The No. 7 ranked team never looked back from that point as it poured 34 points against Gilas’ 12 to build a commanding 40-point lead at the half.
Gilas simply had no answer against its taller and quicker foes who blasted away with a 74-23 showing in the second half.
China’s defense, which was anchored on the 6-foot-9 Han Xu, limited Gilas to a 30-percent field goal percentage while also dominating the rebound battle against the smaller Filipinas, 55-23. They also shared the ball better, 52-5 and forced Gilas to 24 turnovers against their 12.
Afril Bernardino was the lone bright spot and the only double-digit scorer for the Gilas cagebelles with 17 points to go with her seven rebounds and two assists. Janine Pontejos and Nathalia Prado added seven and six markers respectively.
China was led by Liwei Yan who exploded with 21 points while Yueru Li added 18 markers. Xu also contributed 17 points and six rebounds.
Gilas will take on another powerhouse team Australia on Sept. 29, 12 AM (Manila time).
CHINA – Liwei 21, Yueru 18, Xu 17, Ru 15, Yuan 13, Yifan 13, Hengyu 11, Siyu 10, Zhenqi 9, Sijing 9, Tontong7, Meng 0
GILAS PILIPINAS – Bernardino 17, Pontejos 7, Prado 6, Fajardo 6, Nabalan 5, Castro 5, Castillo 3, Clarin 3, Cayabyab 0, Pingol 0, Cabinbin 0, Tongco 0