(UPDATED) The Gilas Pilipinas Women could not sustain a solid start and absorbed a heavy 143-52 loss against powerhouse China in their first game of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup, Monday evening in Amman, Jordan.
The Gilas Women were within striking distance early, trailing by just five points 15-10 midway through the opening period off a Khate Castillo three-pointer.
But China pulled away from there, scoring 14 unanswered points to build a double-digit lead that they would maintain all the way to the final buzzer. A jumper by Afril Bernardino to end the second quarter gave the Filipinas some momentum at the half, but they were still down 69-29.
China showed no let-up in the second half even with a sizable lead, and their pressure defense made it difficult for the Filipinas to establish their offense. On the other end, the Gilas Women could not contain the taller Chinese players inside the paint.
"It's about the preparation. China is … coming off from the Olympics. Right now, we just practiced for one month," said Gilas Pilipinas Women's coach Pat Aquino after the game. "It's really a big difference in preparation."
"But the girls really tried very hard, and hopefully in the next game, we'll do better," he added.
Bernardino led the Philippines with 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block but limped off the court with cramps in the fourth quarter after having played 30 minutes. No other Filipina reached double figures; veteran Janine Pontejos had seven points while the debuting Ella Fajardo scored six markers.
Meanwhile, eight Chinese players were in double-digits led by Liwei Yang who had 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while Yueru Li added 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
China shot a blistering 66.67% from the field, including nearly 72% on their two-point field goals. Meanwhile, the Philippines made only 31% of their shots. China also pressured the Filipinas into 24 turnovers, scoring 34 points from those miscues.
China also had a huge 55-23 advantage on the boards, and their 15 offensive rebounds led to 21 second chance points.
This marks the Philippines' third loss to China in the FIBA Women's Asia Cup; they also lost 117-43 in 2017, and 104-57 in the 2019 edition of the event.
The schedule does not get easier for the Gilas Women as they face another powerhouse in Australia on September 29.
CHINA 143 -- Yang L 21, Li YR 18, Han 17, Li Y 13, Zhang 13, Li YF 13, Yang H 11, Wang 10, Huang 9, Pan 9, Wu 7.
PHILIPPINES 52 -- Bernardino 17, Pontejos 7, Prado 6, Fajardo 6, Nabalan 5, Castro 5, Castillo 3, Clarin 3, Cabinbin 0, Tongco 0, Pingol 0, Cayabyab 0.
Quarters: 35-17, 69-29, 108-38, 143-52.
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