MANILA – Perlas Pilipinas nearly blew a double-digit lead before a fiery windup allowed them to beat Uzbekistan, 62-55, and nail their second victory in the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship yesterday in Bangkok.
The Filipinas led by as much as 16 points, but Uzbekistan roared back in the final period and even briefly took a 51-50 lead after two free throws by Natalya Koneva, who finished with a team high 14 points.
Melissa Jacob fired a triple that sparked a 12-4 run to end the game for the Philippines, while Uzbekistan made only two field goals the rest of the way after taking the lead.
“Things are getting tougher and hotter,” Perlas coach Haydee Ong said in the FIBA Asia website. “But fortunately for us, we are getting better.”
“This (win) has brought the team together and is leaving us much stronger than we started the day,” she added. “Now we can start counting our wins in reaching our target of finishing in the top two in Level II, which will give us an opportunity to attempt at qualifying for Level I.”
The top three teams in the tournament will earn berths to the FIBA World Championship next year in Turkey.
Team captain Joan Grajales led the way for Perlas with 13 points and three assists, while Analyn Almazan fired 10 points.