Despite falling short of their mission to defend the SEA Games title in women’s 5×5 basketball, Gilas Pilipinas Women did the next best thing and bagged the silver medal at the expense of Malaysia, 77-63, Monday afternoon at the Elephant Hall 2 of the Morodok Techno National Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
‘Splash Sisters’ Janine Pontejos and Khate Castillo combined for 42 points as the Filipinas held their ground against a hard-fighting Malaysian side and finished their campaign with a 5-1 record, just behind Indonesia’s gold-winning 6-0 card.
Pontejos erupted for a game-high 24 points highlighted by five long bombs and a perfect 7-of-7 clip from the 15-foot line. Castillo, meanwhile, added 18 spiked by 4-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc.
“Giving everything all the time and never giving up, that has been our rallying cry,” said national team head coach Pat Aquino shortly after the match.
“Unfortunately, we fell short of a gold (medal). But silver’s good enough for us,” he added.
The victory was some sort of revenge for the Filipinas as it came against the same squad that handed them their lone defeat in the previous staging of the SEA Games in Hanoi. Despite the loss to the Malaysians, Gilas Women still managed to bring home the gold and repeat as champs.
“That was a motivation. From the loss back in 2017 and the one in 2019”, explained Aquino. “As I was saying, we came here for our country, to represent our country well. We had to finish whatever we were doing here.”
Camille Clarin chipped in 9 markers while Jack Animam contributed 6 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal.