Gilas Pilipinas Women kicked off its title-retention drive in SEA Games women’s 5×5 basketball with a masterful 60-point beating of host Cambodia, 114-54, Wednesday at the Elephant Hall 2 of the Morodok Techno National Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Ella Fajardo paced the Filipinas with 17 points while four others dropped 11 or more in a balanced attack which saw the guest team break the game wide open in the second quarter after a nip-and-tuck opening period.
Featuring WNBA draftee Meighan Simmons and other American players Mariah Cooks, Kim Hanlon, and Brittany Dinkins, the Cambodians kept the match close and were only down by 2, 20-22, going into the second frame.
The presence of the four naturalized players, however, hardly mattered as Gilas proceeded with the onslaught and opened up a 27-point advantage, 58-31, going into the halftime break.
Despite the huge lead, the Filipinas continued to pour it on and extended the margin to 45 entering the final frame and closed it out with an even 60 for a rousing start.
“They have a rotation of only five, six, or seven players,” said Gilas Women head coach Pat Aquino. “We grabbed that opportunity. I hope we can sustain what we’re doing for the next few games.”
Jack Animam submitted a near double-double performance of 16 points and 9 rebounds while France Mae Cabinbin finished with 12 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals. Afril Bernardino posted 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals.
Camille Clarin added another 11 points while Janine Pontejos had 9. Stefanie Berberabe, Angel Surada and Khate Castillo chipped in 8 markers each.
Up next for Gilas Women is Singapore on Thursday, May 11, 4:00pm at the same venue.