MANILA — Kaye Pingol shined during Uratex Dream’s run to the WMovement’s First 3x3 Elite Invitational Tournament championship on Sunday at Veacon Hope Sports Center in Caloocan.
Pingol, who is the country’s no. 6-ranked women’s 3x3 player, put up 15 points in their 21-14 finals win over Titans.
And for the tournament MVP, it was all about focusing on the goal despite suffering a setback in their final group stage game.
“Laban lang. Yun lang ang nasa isip namin. Kahit natalo kami dun sa huling laro namin sa group stage, alam naming na may pag-asa pa rin kami at kailangan lang bumawi,” said Pingol.
Aiding Pingol was Sam Harada who finished with six markers, one of which was the game-clinching free throw that allowed them to take home the P25,00 cash prize.
Team owner Peachy Medina lauded her team’s efforts including the performances of Mikka Cacho and Tina Deacon.
“Talagang pinakita ng girls yung character nila kaya we’re very proud of them. Kahit may mga na-injure sa kanila, hindi sila nag-give up,” Medina said.
She also gave credit to all the teams who participated in the tournament.
“Kita mo naman sa lineup ng teams na lahat elite level. We also have teams from Singapore joining us. So it’s a good demonstration of the level of women’s basketball that we have in the Philippines,” added Medina.
Uratex went over My Philippines in the semifinals, 18-10, as they topped the Pool B leaders who were led by Clare Castro, Allana Lim, Raiza Palmera-Dy, and Monique del Carmen.
Leading the Titans on the other hand was Snow Penaranda with seven points, and alongside her were Hazelle Yam, Mary Joy Galicia, and Khate Castillo as they brought home P15,000.
In the semis, Titans upset Lady Macbeth Riots in the semifinals, 21-15. Macbeth was led by national team members Afril Bernardino, Malia Bambrick, Gabi Bade, Louna Ozar, and Camille Nolasco.
Overall, WMovement co-founder Mariana Lopa saw the tournament as a success, especially with the intensity of the games that the girls showed off.
“That's the thing with the women’s basketball community, they always show up. And we’re very happy with the level of competition that we witnessed,” she said.
Gilas Pilipinas Women program director and head coach Pat Aquino also expressed how he was impressed with how WMovement did its part to uplift women’s basketball.
“It really exceeded my expectations and I hope to see more events to come so that we can raise the level of women’s basketball in the country,” he said.
WMovement is planning to put up two more Elite Invitational tournaments later this year which would serve as a qualifier for the second staging of the Manila Hustle 3x3 next year.
“Hopefully we can have more teams that can join,” said Lopa.
Meanwhile, Pingol and Uratex now turn their focus to the Red Bull Half Court World Finals in September.
“Mas nadagdagan yung kumpyansa namin pero kailangan pa naming mag-train together lalo,” said Pingol.