GILAS PILIPINAS WOMEN — FIBA

GILAS Pilipinas women fell prey to host Chinese Taipei-A, 82-66, to miss out on a podium finish in the Women’s Jones Cup late Wednesday night at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in Taiwan.

The Filipina quintet stared at an early 10-26 defeat and never recovered to fall just short from finishing inside the Top 3 of the annual invitational tournament.

Gilas (-3) finished at 2-3 for a three-way tie with Chinese Taipei-B (+12) and Thailand (-9) but the former had a superior quotient to clinch the bronze.

The Philippines, which settled for fourth place, beat Thailand, 68-58, but lost against Chinese Taipei B, 73-60, back in the opener.

Gilas’ other triumph came against the winless Malaysia, 74-63, as it also bowed against Japan Universiade, 85-83. Japan went on to win the tournament under a single-round robin format by routing Malaysia, 84-34, to complete a 5-0 sweep. Chinese Taipei-A, at 4-1, captured the silver medal.

Gilas youth standout Naomi Natalie Panganiban, after leading the Under 18 (U18) team to a Division A promotion by sweeping the FIBA U18 Women’s Asia Cup Division B, led the way for the Filipinas with 19 points.

Veterans Afril Bernardino and Stefanie Berberabe chipped in 12 points while anchor Jack Animam had eight points and nine rebounds but still weren’t enough to propel Gilas to the podium. — John Bryan Ulanday