Panganiban shines in debut, but Gilas Women fall to Chinese Taipei in Jones Cup Opener

The debut of 18-year-old Naomi Panganiban with Gilas Pilipinas Women was bittersweet, as the team fell short to Chinese Taipei B, 73-60, in their opening game of the 2024 William Jones Cup Women’s Basketball Tournament on Saturday at Xinzhuang Gymnasium.

Panganiban, fresh off leading the Gilas Girls to the Division A title at the FIBA U18 Asia Cup just a week ago, impressed in her seniors debut. She paced the Philippines with a team-high 16 points, showcasing a perfect 8-of-8 free throw shooting performance.

However, a balanced offensive attack from the hosts proved too much to overcome. Chinese Taipei established a lead at halftime (33-26) and extended it further in the third quarter with a flurry of three-pointers. Despite valiant comeback attempts by the Philippines, the Taiwanese held their ground, securing a comfortable 13-point victory.

Veteran Afril Bernardino provided valuable support for Gilas with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Jack Animam contributed a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.

While the scoreboard didn’t favor them, Gilas showed glimpses of promise with Panganiban’s impressive debut. Her performance offers a positive outlook for the young team’s development.

On the other side, Chen Yuchieh led Chinese Taipei with 13 points, while Lin Yushu chipped in with 10. Notably, the Taiwanese capitalized on their three-point shooting, converting 13 out of 39 attempts compared to Gilas’ 3 successful three-pointers out of 26 tries.

Despite being outrebounded by Gilas (42-40), Chinese Taipei had the edge in assists (27-8) and steals (13-10).

Gilas Pilipinas Women will look to bounce back on Sunday as they face Malaysia in their next game scheduled for 3 PM. This will be a crucial opportunity for the team to learn from their first encounter and showcase their fighting spirit in the ongoing William Jones Cup tournament.

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