Gilas Women dominate Kazakhstan in Asian Games debut
MANILA, Philippines–Gilas Pilipinas Women made light work of a taller Kazakhstan side, 83-59, on Wednesday night for a rousing debut in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
The Philippines used a strong second quarter, dealing damage from inside and out while limiting Kazakhstan—which had four players standing over six feet—to just nine points at Shaoxing Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium.
Janine Pontejos led the way with 21 points built on seven triples, Khate Castillo chipped in 15 while Afril Bernardino 11 more in the triumph that also served as a milestone for the national program.
This is the Philippines’ first-ever appearance in the Asian Games women’s basketball under the guidance of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.
Cornerstone Jack Danielle Animam, Gilas’ lone 6-footer, finished with 12 points and did most of the work cleaning the glass with a game-best 14 rebounds.
Gilas finished with 53 rebounds against its foe’s 47.
“Height has always been our problem, but I think we have advantages we can use against them (the Kazakhs),” Animam told the Inquirer on the eve of the match.
“I’m excited to play, especially this being our first ever Asian Games, but you know we’ve been playing in much higher level of competition. It may be only our first time, but this feeling (of excitement) is not our first time,” she added.
Gilas also bested the Kazakhs in assists, 19-10; and in steals, 15-5.
Tamara Kuzmina and Anna Bezgodova both had 12 points for Kazakhstan while Daria Korolevaboth chipped in 11.
Up next for the Philippines in Group B is Hong Kong, which is coming off a 118-46 loss to powerhouse Japan. The two nations battle this Friday at 1:30 p.m. (Manila time).