Gilas girls barge into FIBA 3X3 U18 World Cup quarterfinals

The Gilas Pilipinas women’s team needed to win both their games on Wednesday to make it into the quarterfinals of the FIBA 3X3 U-18 World Cup in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

And boy, did they got those W’s.

In what turned out to be thrilling day for the Philippines, Gilas toppled European powerhouses, the Netherlands and Czech Republic, in dramatic fashion. The results mean the Philippines advances from Pool C, along with tournament favorites France, to the knockout stages.

Camille Clarin played the role of hero for the Philippines first, after draining a buzzer-beater against the Netherlands in their first game of the day.

A back-and-forth contest saw the Filipinas and their Dutch counterparts tied up at nine-all with less than 12 seconds left on the clock. With the shot clock turned off, Clarin took her time, before missing a step through jumper. Luckily for the Philippines, Karl Ann Pingol was able to tap the rebound back Clarin’s way, who gave Gilas the lead as time expired.

Ella Fajardo led all scorers with six points, while Clarin finished with three.

Later that evening, it was Angel Surada’s turn to step up for the Filipinas. After going scoreless against the Netherlands in the afternoon, Surada got the biggest rebounds and scored the game winner in overtime versus the Czech Republic.

Trailing 13-9 in the dying moments of regulation, the Czechs managed four points in 22.6 seconds though a pair of long ranged bombs. This meant the contest had to be settled in an overtime period, where the first team that scores two wins the game.

Surada got the Philippines’ first point, before their opponents evened up the scores from the free throw line. With the game in the balance, Fajardo found a cutting Surada, whose attempt was blocked by Pavlína Tabačková. Surada was able to retrieve the blocked shot, and immediately went back up to book the Philippines’ ticket to the quarterfinals.

Clarin paced the Philippines with seven markers, while Surada and Fajardo chipped in with three apiece.

After their heart thumping wins, head coach Patrick Aquino was ecstatic with his team’s performance.

“What can I say? They did it all, they wanted to really win this game,” Aquino said after advancing to the next round.

According to both Surada and Clarin, the way the Philippines advanced is proof that this is a group that doesn’t give up.

“Nagkaisa po kami, hindi kami bumitaw,” Surada said. “Lumaban po kami hangaang sa dulo.”

“It really says that we just fight, no matter how many disadvantages we have,” Clarin added.

The Philippines will try to go further in the tournament when they take on undefeated China for their knockout quarterfinal meeting on Friday at the Sükhbaatar Square.

Photo from the author