By Aljo Dolores
New Zealand def. Philippines, 75-57
Tessa Boagni (16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks)
A rebound, a layup, a triple, and a block. That’s what it took for 6-foot-2 forward Tessa Boagni to spark New Zealand’s 11-3 run late in the first half. The 23-year-old made quite an impact as the team’s sixth man, as her 11-point second quarter explosion created the initial separation NZ needed to take this game away.
Janine Pontejos (15 points, 7 rebounds, 50% 3P)
Pontejos finally broke out of her slump. After converting just one triple in his first eight tries at the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, the sharpshooter out of CEU converted three shots from deep to lead the Pinays’ gallant stand against NZ. She also led Gilas in rebounds for this game, undoubtedly making her the best player of the game for the Philippines.
Kalani Purcell (5 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block)
Never mind that Kalani Purcell missed all of his six tries from deep. The 6-foot-2 power forward found ways to contribute to her team outside of scoring. She led her team in both rebounds and assists, which definitely helped NZ edge out Gilas in those categories. Her all-around performance was worthy of fantasy league citations.
- This was the closest game Gilas ever played with in the group stage. The game was a tit-for-tat battle most of the way, with 11 lead changes occurring in the first half. In fact, there were only two huge runs made in the game: 11-3 late in the second quarter, and 11-3 late in the fourth. Unfortunately for Gilas, both those runs were done by New Zealand, thus the 18-point loss.
- For the third time in the group stage, Gilas lost to its opponent in rebounds. This was a recurring problem for the Pinays given the size mismatch they had to face. Gilas should not rely solely on Jack Animam, who was the tallest player on the court for two of theit games, for rebounding. They should find a way to gang up the opposing bigs, jockey for a better position to grab the boards.
- With a 0-3 card, Gilas will play in the 7-8 classification game against India, a team that also dropped all of its games from the group stage.
- One thing that Gilas did well in this game was in utilizing speed to its advantage. For the first time in the tournament, the Pinays won in fastbreak points (19-13). The Philippines scored a third of its points on the run. Given that India was dead last in turnovers after the group round (21.7), Gilas may want to exploit scoring on the break as they play to stay in Division A.