By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Gilas Pilipinas Women’s team just began its FIBA Under-16 Asian Championships bid with a lopsided victory over the Hong Kong national team, 79-40, last July 10, 2023, held at the Prince Hamzah Sport Hall in Amman, Jordan.
Gilas handed Hong Kong a demolition exhibition and won every department of the game to start its campaign with an impressive win in Division B.
After a short back-and-forth affair against Hong Kong, the young Filipina hoopers snowballed their way offensively at the start of the second quarter to fully take control of the game.
From a slim margin, Gilas suddenly ballooned its lead to 14, and clinch a 27-13 lead midway through the second frame.
Gilas’ perfectly executed offensive schemes haunted Hong Kong in the last three quarters matched with their tight defensive coverage.
Despite Hong Kong’s knocked down three-pointers in the second half, the Filipinas still protected their huge lead after dominating the paint area.
Upcoming stalwart Ava Fajardo led Gilas’ onslaught after putting up a game-high 17-point performance built from an efficient 8/14 shooting from the field.
Aside from her offensive prowess, Fajardo also did the little things for the PHL U-16 team as she tallied six rebounds, four steals, and three assists.
It was Fajardo who spearheaded Gilas’ massive rally in the third frame to officially fend off Hong Kong’s fightback after leading by as much as 41 points.
Ryan Nair backstopped Fajardo in the scoring department after chipping in 12 points while Alyssia Palma added 10 markers.