JAPAN repeated as FIBA Women’s Asia Cup champion after defeating China, 78-73, in the finals on Sunday in Amman, Jordan, while the Philippines finished seventh in the eight-team field and averted being relegated to Division B of FIBA Asia. — FIBA

PHL national women’s basketball team keeps Division A standing

JAPAN repeated as International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Women’s Asia Cup champion after defeating China, 78-73, in the finals on Sunday in Amman, Jordan.

A rematch of the 2019 edition of the tournament, the outcome ended up the same with the Japanese hoisting the trophy, the fifth consecutive time they have done so.

The Philippines, for its part, finished seventh in the eight-team field and averted being relegated to Division B of FIBA Asia.

In the finals, Japan was led by the brilliant play of point guard Saori Miyazaki who finished with a double-double of 26 points and 11 assists.

The Japanese were greatly challenged by the Chinese, but hung tough all the way to the end to keep their supremacy in the biennial continental women’s basketball tournament.

For her outstanding showing throughout the tournament where Japan went 5-0, Himawari Akaho was named tournament most valuable player. Teammate Miyazaki was also part of the All-Star Five.

Also in the mythical selection were Yueru Li and Sijing Huang of China and Sami Whitcomb of Australia.

The Aussies bagged third place after defeating Korea, 88-58.

For making the Final Four, Japan, China and Korea booked a spot in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournament, joining host Australia.

IN DIVISION A STILL
Meanwhile, the Philippine national women’s basketball team had it rough in the FIBA Asia Cup for the second straight time, but did just enough to keep its standing in Division A play and compete with the best in the continent.

Gilas Pilipinas Women defeated India, 74-70, in the relegation game on Friday to finish seventh place in this year’s edition of the tournament.

Janine Pontejos and Khate Castillo towed the nationals to the gutsy win where they had to buck early struggles.

The two finished with 22 points apiece with Afril Bernardino ending up with all-around numbers of nine points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and four blocks.

The Philippines lost all of its matches in Group B of preliminary play and ended up with a 1-3 card in the tournament held from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 at the Prince Hamza Hall in Amman.

“I know for the past three games we struggled, but today they played together and as a team. It was a good victory for us,” said Gilas Women coach Patrick Aquino as they ended their campaign on a high note.

Prior to leaving for Jordan, the Gilas team had to deal with the limitations presented by the pandemic. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo