Gilas Pilipinas U18 Women dominate Division B, earn promotion to Division A

The Gilas Pilipinas U18 Women’s team is headed to Division A after a commanding 95-64 victory against Lebanon in the final of the Division B competition at the Futian Sports Park in Shenzhen, China.

This triumph caps off an impressive run, ensuring their promotion to face some of the strongest teams in Asia in the next edition of the FIBA U18 Women’s Asia Cup.

The Filipina cagers displayed a fiery performance from beyond the arc, connecting on an impressive 15 out of 38 three-point attempts. This offensive explosion, spearheaded by Alyssa Rodriguez’s stellar 6-of-10 shooting from deep (22 points), effectively broke the game open in the second quarter. A dominant 17-0 run propelled Gilas to a commanding 33-9 lead in the second period, leaving Lebanon with little room for comeback.

Beyond Rodriguez’s brilliance, the Gilas squad showcased a well-rounded offensive approach. Alicia Villanueva (15 points) and Naomi Panganiban (13 points) chipped in with valuable contributions, highlighting the team’s offensive depth. Their impressive teamwork was further emphasized by 23 assists throughout the game.

Defense also played a crucial role in Gilas’ success. Their suffocating defensive strategy generated a staggering 23 steals, forcing 31 turnovers from Lebanon. Capitalizing on these turnovers, Gilas converted 39 points on the other end, further extending their lead.

This victory marks the culmination of a dominant run for Gilas Pilipinas U18. Following their third-place finish in the 2022 edition, they swept the entire Division B tournament this year. Their journey began with a resounding 141-18 win over Maldives and continued with victories against Lebanon (89-63) and Samoa (71-47) before their championship win.

Under the guidance of coaches Julie Amos and Patrick Aquino, the Gilas squad will now take on a new challenge in Division A. They will face established basketball powerhouses like China, Australia, and Japan, providing them with an opportunity to compete against the best young talent in Asia.

This promotion serves as a testament to the tremendous growth and potential of the Philippines’ U18 women’s basketball program. The future of Philippine women’s basketball appears bright, with these young stars poised to make their mark on the international stage.

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