MANILA – Indonesia frustrated the Philippine national women’s basketball team’s campaign for Southeast Asian (SEA) Games’ gold after pulling off a come-from-behind 61-56 win at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
The Indons offset Perlas Pilipinas’ aggressive start by turning the tables on the Pinays starting in the second period.
With their second loss in four games, the Nationals are not even sure of going home with a medal, depending on how the rest of the matches play out over the next two days.
Marlina Herawan did the most damage against the Filipinas, sinking four clutch free throws in the last 30 seconds, rallying Indonesia to its third win in four outings in the six-team, single round series.
“I don’t know, I think we just had a bad day, our worst game in the last three months,” said coach Patrick Aquino. “But I won’t take anything against my girls because they did really play hard.”
Aquino added that playing straight for the last four days must have taken its toll on his charges.
“We had a tough game against Thailand, then had to beat Vietnam comprehensively, followed by that hard game against Malaysia,” he noted. “Baka napagod sa mga sunod-sunod na laban. Marami na rin sa kanila ang may iniinda.”
If the Filipinas were feeling any aches and pains, it hardly showed in the first quarter as they erected a 21-9 spread and appeared headed for a breezy win.
But the Indons refused to give up, turning the tables on their rivals in the second period where they outscored the Pinays, 18-8, to narrow the deficit to 27-29 at the break.
Then everything went awry for Aquino’s charges in the third quarter, missing easy lay-ups and shots, as their foes, behind irrepressible center Sophia Gabriel, took command and led 46-38 entering the pivotal fourth period.
The Philippines finally sprang back to life, going on a 12-0 tear opening the final period to deadlock the score at 46-46, following free throws by Analyn Almazan with 8:35 to go.
But the Indons countered with a 5-0 mini-run of their own triggered by Yuni Angraini’s triple to regain the upperhand at 51-46.
The Nationals had their last taste of the lead at 56-55 on Afril Bernardino’s drive, 1:34 ticks left, only to see it all go for naught as they made a series of errors that enabled the Indonesians to escape with the win.
Pointguard Raiza Rose Palmera led the Philippines with 12 points, Bernardino had 11, while Almazan, Allana May Lim and Shelley Anne Gupilan chipped in with seven points apiece in the losing stand.
Nathasha Christialine paced Indonesia with 19 points, Sophia had 18 points on top of 17 boards, while Herawan had 14 points, including six-of-six from the charity stripe.
The Philippines needed to beat the Indonesians and host Singapore to capture their first ever women’s basketball gold medal in the regional sports fest.