BOCAUE, Bulacan – (2nd UPDATE) The Filipinas put on another commendable effort, but still fell short against a dominant Spanish team to bow out of contention in the 2018 FIBA 3x3 Basketball World Cup on Sunday at the Philippine Arena.
A superb performance from former Centro Escolar University guard Janine Pontejos was not enough, as Spain downed the Philippine women's team, 21-17, in another heartbreaking result for the home squad.
Spain's win hiked their record to 3-0, putting them within reach of a quarterfinals spot. In contrast, the Filipinas are now at 0-3, taking them out of the running for a berth in the next phase of the competition.
"It was better, it's another good game for us. I know Spain had a hard time today. I was hoping na medyo mas dikit pa, but anyway, again experience-wise kulang, kulang pa rin. But the game was close," said Philippine coach Patrick Aquino.
The Filipinas, seeded 20th in the tournament, made sure that they would go down swinging against the No. 12-seed Spain, which entered the day with a 2-0 win-loss record.
Pontejos's hot shooting briefly kept the Filipinas ahead, as she drilled back-to-back two-pointers for an 8-6 lead. The Spanish had a response every time, however. An and-1 from Nuria Prat tied the game at 8, and after Pontejos knocked down another two-pointer, Paula Palomares completed an and-1 of her own for a 10-all deadlock.
Foul trouble doomed the Filipinas in the second half of the game, with Palomares, Aitana Mediavilla, and Vega Martinez all making them pay with free throws. A lay-up by Mediavilla and a Martinez jumper put Spain on the brink of victory, 20-14.
A bucket by Gemma Miranda and yet another two-pointer by Pontejos gave the Philippines some hope, 20-17 – one that was magnified when Palomares bricked a long jumper. But Martinez was able to grab the offensive board, and fired a behind-the-back pass to a cutting Palomares for the wide-open lay-up that sealed their victory.
The loss wasted a remarkable 13-point effort from Pontejos, who made five two-point jumpers.
Palomares led the Spanish women with 11 points.
Their final game of the tournament would be more of the same for the Filipinas, as they lost in heartbreaking fashion once again to Hungary, 18-15.
The Filipinas led by as much as four points, 10-6, against the third-seeded team in the tournament as Bernardino and Miranda began to find their mark from the field to back-up Pontejos.
Once again, however, foul trouble dashed the Philippines' hopes. They were in penalty with 4:22 to go, and double penalty with 3:17 left – meaning that every foul would give Hungary two free throws plus the possession.
The result doomed the Philippines to a winless campaign, but all is not lost for the Filipinas.
"This tournament is a great experience for us," she said. "We need a lot of this. I know we were there, and it's just a matter of experience. I'm proud of what my team did, because every day that we played, we always improved."
Spain 21 - Palomares 11, Martinez Prat 4, Cuevas Mediavilla 4, Gimeno Martinez 2
Philippines 17 - Pontejos 13, Miranda 3., Bernardino 1, Animam 0.
Hungary 18 – Medgyessy 8, Bozoki 9, Theodorean 1, Rujak 1
Philippines 15 – Pontejos 7, Bernardino 4, Miranda 3, Animam 1
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