Gilas nears FIBA U18 WAC promotion, stifles Samoa

Gilas is already smelling that coveted promotion. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Gilas Pilipinas moved within one step away from securing promotion in the FIBA U18 Women's Asia Cup after downing Samoa, 71-47, in the Division B semifinals on Saturday at the Futian Sports Park in Shenzhen.

Gilas turned to its defense to shut down Samoa, which was said to be the acid test to determine if they would make it to Division A.

Gilas held its ground on the defensive end in the first quarter, holding Samoa to just five points at the end of the first quarter.

Samoa tried to rally in the second quarter and cut the lead down to four, 25-21, with 3:24 left before halftime.

However, Gilas responded with a 6-0 run to up the lead back to 10, and they kept the lead within that margin in the third quarter before pulling away for good in the fourth.

Ava Fajardo led Gilas with 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals, while Naomi Panganiban added 12 points, five rebounds, two assists, four steals, and one block.

Gilas recorded a total of 26 steals, accounting for all but five of Samoa's total turnovers.

Mylaani Sione made 18 points, eight rebounds, one steal, and one block to lead Samoa.

Gilas will need to hurdle Lebanon once more on Sunday to secure the much coveted Division A promotion.

Lebanon stunned Iran, 64-49, in the other Division B semifinal anchored upon a solid defensive stand of their own that saw the Iranians held to just nine points in the first and 10 in the fourth.

Gilas drubbed Lebanon in their group stage meeting, giving them some psychological advantage heading to the Sunday rematch.

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