By Ivan Saldajeno
PASAY--For the first time ever, the Philippines won the gold medal in the women's 5x5 basketball event of the Southeast Asian Games.
Gilas Pilipinas Women completed the historic feat on Tuesday night after drubbing Thailand, 91-71, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Despite nearly botching a hot start, Gilas Women kept their poise in the end as the host nation finally won it all after years of runner-up finishes and heartbreaks.
With the hometown crowd behind them, Gilas Women raced to an 18-7 lead in the first quarter and were on track of a blowout. Thailand, however, fought back and even tied the game, 43-all.
Gilas Women eventually retook the lead with a 9-0 run that spanned through the third quarter, and that sparked their final breakaway.
Jack Animan made her first nine shots and finished with 21 points alongside five rebounds and two blocks for Gilas Women.
Skipper Janine Pontejos added 16 points, five rebounds, one assist, and four steals, while Afril Bernardino put up a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds with five assists and two blocks.
Tiffany Bias made 15 markers, four rebounds, four assists, three steals, and one block for Thailand, which settled for the silver.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno