Philippines wins SEA Games gold in 3×3 women’s basketball
MANILA, Philippines—With the raucous hometown crowd behind, Gilas Pilipinas Women delivered the inaugural gold medal after fending off Thailand, 17-13, in 3×3 basketball of the 30th Southeast Asian Games Monday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Afril Bernardino was all heart as she led the Philippines to the gold despite reaggravating a sprained left thumb.
Bernardino’s brilliance didn’t go unnoticed as she drew MVP chants from the crowd after erupting for 10 points, mostly on daredevil drives to the basket.
“I’m just so happy for the girls, especially for women’s basketball. This is our first time to compete in 3×3 and we won our gold. History again,” national team coach Pat Aquino said.
“I hope that with this win, with this gold medal, all the hard work of the girls will be recognized,” Aquino, who also coaches the women’s 5-on-5 squad, added. “We’re so proud of them. All their hard work, all their sacrifices. They really love basketball. This is for the country.”
Gilas was unstoppable to start the tournament until it ran into a hot-shooting Thailand side to end the preliminary round.
That loss, however, lit the fire in the Filipinos’ belly.
“They beat us in the eliminations and we badly wanted to get back at them after that,” Bernardino said.
Finishing as the best 3×3 team in the region is just reaching the first stop of the journey.
Gilas women are also seeking history in 5-on-5 basketball in the SEA Games where the country has yet to win the gold.