Gilas misses Division A promotion as Samoa exacts revenge in FIBA U16 semis

Published June 29, 2022, 11:28 PM

by Reynald I. Magallon

What was thought to be a swift march to the finish turned into a nightmare as the Gilas Pilipinas girls team succumbed to Samoa, 88-73, in the semifinals of the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship at the Prince Hamza Arena in Jordan on Wednesday, June 29.

The Gilas Pilipinas U16 girls team was a picture of disappointment following its stunning 88-73 loss to Samoa in the semifinals of the FIBA U16 women’s Asian championship. (Photo from Fiba)

The Samoans denied the Filipina dribblers’ hopes of earning a Division A promotion after completing their redemption with a statement win that erased the bitter taste of a 94-65 loss in their group state meeting. Kira-May Filemu proved to be the biggest thorn to the side of Gilas with 36 points to lead her team to the monumental upset.

After leading the scoring in the tournament with a 97.4 points per game outing, the Pinay cagebelles struggled to find the mark in their rematch as they were limited to just 73 points in the loss.

Kristan Yumul, who was the second leading scorer in the tournament with 25 points per game in three outings in the group stage, went ice cold with just 13 points on a measly 5-of-20 shooting from the field including 3-of-15 clip from beyond the arc.

Gabbi Ramos, after averaging 17.3 points and 14.7 rebounds in the group stage, was limited to just eight points and eight rebounds. Natalie Panganiban and Ava Fajardo carried the fight for the Filipinas scoring 14 and 13 points, respectively.

However, a horrendous first half spelled doom for the Filipinas, particularly in the second quarter where Gilas allowed Samoa to build a double-digit lead which it never relinquished the rest of the way.

Gilas was beaten black and blue during that stretch where the Samoans had their way on both ends of the floor, limiting the Filipinas to just 12 points while unloading 28 on the offensive end.

The national team tried to recover from the huge 53-30 lead at the half but its spotty offense was met with timely baskets from Filemu.

Gilas puffed some life through the final frame when it cut the lead down to just 13, 74-61, but it proved to be the closest Gilas could get as Samoa restored order to advance to the finals.

With the loss, Gilas lost its shot at the promotion and will battle for the third place against the loser of the match between Lebanon and Syria.