BOCAUE, Bulacan—(UPDATED) Crowd darling Rae Lin D'Alie put on another show, as Italy shocked Russia, 16-12, in the women's gold medal game of the 2018 FIBA 3x3 Basketball World Cup on Tuesday at the Philippine Arena here.
The 5-foot-4 D'Alie, who established herself as a crowd favorite right off the bat, got Italy off to a sizzling start, hit the key buckets when Russia threatened, then fed her teammates for some more crucial field goals down the stretch in Italy's thrilling win.
This was Italy's first gold in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup, and the team earned it by dethroning the defending women's champions.
"If you don't dream, then you can't arrive. I believe in this team," said the 30-year-old D'Alie, awarded tournament Most Valuable Player. "If you have a dream, go get it."
Giulia Rulli added: "Our key was the defense. In every game, the defense and our heart. We are only one team with a staff, with our coach and us. And that was the case to beat every team."
D'Alie guided Italy to a quick 3-1 lead, but Russia caught up to take a 7-6 lead. A reverse lay-up by Giulia Ciavarella, followed by a D'Alie jumper, pushed Italy back ahead, 9-7, a lead that the Italians would not relinquish.
After a free throw by Anastasia Iogunuva made it a one-point game, Italy scored four unanswered points — highlighted by a two-point jumper from Marcella Filippi — to make it 13-8. D'Alie put the finishing touches on Italy's win with a jump shot for a 16-10 advantage that had the crowd buzzing.
Russia mounted a last-ditch attempt, as Alexandra Stolyar and Anna Leshkovtseva each scored inside the paint, but their rally was too late as Italy held on for the win that was applauded by the mostly Filipino crowd inside the venue.
D'Alie finished with seven points, while Rulli scored four.
Leshkovtseva had four points for the dethroned champions.
Meanwhile, France won the bronze medal, beating China 21-14. Marie-Eve Paget drilled the two-point jumper that sealed the win for the French team, who lost in agonizing fashion to Russia in the semifinals. Johanna Tayeau led France with seven points.
Sun Li had five points for China, the top overall seed in the tournament.
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