Gilas Pilipinas Women fall short in thrilling comeback bid against Japan at Jones Cup

The Gilas Pilipinas Women suffered a narrow 85-83 defeat to Japan in a heart-stopping encounter at the 2024 William Jones Cup Women’s Basketball Tournament on Monday.

Despite a valiant comeback effort, the Philippines dropped their second game of the tournament, bringing their record to 1-2. Meanwhile, Japan maintained their undefeated run, extending it to 3-0.

Afril Bernardino once again emerged as a star for Gilas, leading the team with a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds. Jack Animam also contributed a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Naomi Panganiban and Khate Castillo chipped in with 12 points each, showcasing the team’s depth.

Japan’s offense was well-distributed, with Fujisawa Yumeha (13 points), Takako Sato (13 points), and Haruka Yamamoto (11 points) leading the scoring charge.

The game unfolded with Japan taking an early lead. The Philippines battled back throughout, but found themselves down by 15 points at one point. However, a spirited fourth-quarter run ignited by Gilas saw them erase the deficit and tie the game at 83.

Unfortunately, a costly foul by Bernardino sent Japan’s Aoi Yamada to the free-throw line, where she capitalized on both attempts. With time dwindling, Panganiban’s potential game-winning three-pointer fell short, sealing the narrow victory for Japan.

Statistically, the game was a close battle. Gilas shot a respectable 53.8% from within the two-point area, while Japan countered with a 51.5% success rate. Three-point shooting was a mixed bag, with Gilas connecting on 34.6% of their attempts compared to Japan’s 36.4%. The Philippines held a slight edge in rebounding (38 to 33), but Japan’s superior assist count (25 to 15) proved beneficial.

While the defeat stings, Gilas Pilipinas Women displayed impressive resilience and determination. Their strong showing against a dominant Japanese team bodes well for their remaining games in the tournament.

Gilas returns to action tomorrow as they face Thailand. Can they bounce back and secure a crucial victory?

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