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Gilas edges India to stay in FIBA WAC top flight

Gilas Pilipinas celebrates with its Filipino fans in Amman after winning in their classification battle against India. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Gilas Pilipinas will remain in Division A of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup after outlasting India, 74-70, in the seventh-place playoff at the Prince Hamzah Sports Hall in Amman early Friday (Philippine Time).

Despite a sluggish first quarter, Gilas slowly recovered and took flight in the second half even as Khate Castillo lighted it up from long range in the end to hold off the Indian ladies.

With a loss sending either of the teams back to Division B, India looked to snap two straight editions of misery over Gilas after opening a 19-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Gilas slowly got its rhythm going in the second quarter with Janine Pontejos leading the way, although India would still take a 39-34 lead at halftime.

Gilas suddenly turned the tides in the third period, outscoring India, 21-13, to move up, 55-52, entering the fourth.

Gilas threatened to pull away after going on a 13-2 run to open an 11-point lead, 67-56, with 6:51 remaining.

India fought back with a 9-0 run that cut the lead down to four, 67-65, with three and a half minutes left in the game.

But Castillo sizzled with back-to-back triples to up the lead back to eight, 73-65, with two and a half minutes to play.

India still had one final push, once again drawing itself to within four, with 42.8 seconds left, but huge repossessions down the stretch sealed the win for Gilas.

Pontejos and Castillo each scored 22 markers for Gilas, which will still join Japan, China, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, and Chinese Taipei in the top flight for the FIBA WAC along with the team that will be promoted from Division B.

Pushpa Senthil Kumar put up 15 points, 12 rebounds three assists, two steals, and two blocks, while Shireen Vijay Limaye added 10 markers, 13 boards, four dimes, three swipes, and one swat for India, which will be going back to Division B.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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