Gilas women youth punches FIBA Under-16 semifinals ticket

The Gilas women’s youth squad will march to the semifinals of the FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship (FIBA Asia photo)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Gilas Pilipinas women’s youth national basketball team will have the chance to climb up to the gold-medal match of the 2022 FIBA Under-16 Women’s Asian Championship after grabbing an impressive semifinal spot.

Despite 13 years of inactivity from the international basketball scene, the newly built women’s youth national basketball team accepted the tough challenge of competing against the best teams in Asia after demolishing Samoa, 94-65, to cap off their Division B sweep of the prestigious tournament.

Fresh off hard-earned victories against Indonesia and Syria, the Gilas women’s squad was determined to qualify for the semifinals and dominated Samoa on both ends of the court.

Kristan Yumul continued her excellent basketball display and led Gilas with 22 points built from five drained three-pointers.

Yumul proved to be Gilas’ main threat from downtown and continued her consistent shooting from downtown since erupting in their very first game against the Indonesians.

The Filipinas jumped to an early thanks to their excellent perimeter defense and crisp rotations that negated Samoa’s three-point shooting ability.

Every time the Samoans attempted to start their play in hopes of generating a wide-open trey in the corners, the Filipinas were quick to send help in the baselines that helped them gain the momentum throughout the duel.

BJ Villarin of National University also had a stellar night after contributing 13 points and only missed four of her 10 total attempts.

Meanwhile, Naomi Panganiban, Gilas’ stabilizer in their first two games, put up another all-around performance of 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals.

Gilas will have a day to rest and scout the winner between Syria and Group B’s third seed which they will face in the semifinals tomorrow.