Kristan Yumul sizzled with nine three-pointers as Gilas Pilipinas U16 girls team avoided a huge meltdown against Syria, 92-86, in the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship at the Prince Hamza Arena in Jordan on Saturday, June 25.
Yumul waxed hot with 33 points built on a scintillating 9-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc – none bigger than the last one, a tough step-back three pointer she drilled over her defender to cap a crucial 6-0 spurt that gave Gilas an 88-82 cushion with 1:16 left in the game.
The shot prevented what could be a huge collapse on the part of the Filipinas who surrendered a 20-point advantage they once held late in the first half.
It also atoned for Yumul’s earlier miss that could have broken an 82-all deadlock with 2:21 remaining in the game. Fortunately for Gilas, Gabby Ramos was at the right place at the right time as she collared the offensive board before scoring on an and-1 play on the put back, triggering the telling run.
Ramos, after a monster 27 points, 20 rebounds outing in her debut, provided support with 21 points and 14 rebounds while Natalie Panganiban was the other double-digit scorer for Gilas with 13.
The Filipina cagebelles led by as many as 20 points 47-27 late in the first half. The Syrians however rallied back in the third frame and cut the lead down to just 10, 73-63, heading into the final frame.
Behind the one-two punch of Suzan Backour and Simel Alahmar, who paced their team with 28 and 20 points respectively, Syria completely erased the deficit and tied the game at 82-all with 2:45 left. That, however, only set up the table for the heroics from Ramos and Yumul as the Filipinas finished the contest with a 10-4 run.
Gilas currently sits atop the Group A standings with a 2-0 record and a victory against Samoa on Sunday would assure the Filipinas top seed finish and an outright semifinals berth in the playoffs.