By JONAS TERRADO
Gilas Pilipinas took charge in the second half to defeat Indonesia, 93-77, Monday, for a strong start to its title-retention bid in women’s basketball competitions of the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
After protecting a precarious 40-38 halftime lead, the Filipina dribblers would score 13 points while holding the Indonesians to just three during a four-minute span which allowed them to take full control of the match held at the Thang Tri Gymnasium.
Afril Bernardino, one of four players on the roster who fell short of defending the gold in the 3×3 event, paced Gilas with 16 points while adding nine rebounds and four steals.
Bernardino’s 3×3 teammate Janine Pontejos added 15 points while Camille Clarin and Gabi Bade, daughter of former PBA player Cris Bade, added 11 points apiece for coach Pat Aquino’s side.
The Philippines will take on old rival Thailand on Wednesday in a key battle between the two teams that finished 1-2 in the previous SEA Games held at the Mall of Asia Arena in December 2019.
Gilas beat Thailand, 91-71, in the final game of the 2019 competition to complete its long quest for a gold in the distaff side.
Getting a victory over Thailand could boost Gilas’ chances of retaining the gold, especially with the format being a single-round tournament to determine the winner.
Thailand, which ruled the 3×3 event after beating host Vietnam, was facing Malaysia at presstime to begin its campaign.