MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas suffered its first defeat in the 19th Asian Games women’s basketball tournament, stumbling against a well-oiled Japanese team, 96-59, on Sunday night.
Saddled by an error-filled first quarter, Gilas barely stood a chance against virtually the same Akatsuki Five that finished second in the Women’s Asia Cup in Sydney, Australia, earlier this year.
The Nationals were also unable to come up with a response to the Japanese’s early torrid shooting, which gave them a huge 35-14 lead in the first period, which ultimately proved useful as the match wore on at the Hangzhou Olympic Center Gymnasium .
Janine Pontejos had 13 points, while Chack Cabinbin and Jack Danielle Animam each finished with nine in the effort that dropped Gilas to 2-1 in Group B.
Japan used their cohesion to the max, racking up 33 assists and hitting 14 triples for a perfect 3-0 finish in the same group.
Gilas kept it close in the second quarter, scoring 12 to Akatsuki’s 15. But with a gap so large and Afril Bernardino adjusting her left leg, Pat Aquino and the rest of the Nationals opted to use the game to prepare for the quarterfinals.
With the two blowouts of Kazakhstan and Hong Kong, the Philippines are all but assured of a spot in the last eight.
Gilas will be back in action on Monday against an opponent yet to be determined.