Gilas Women spoil Thailand’s late fightback to bag second win in Jones Cup

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Gilas Pilipinas Women held off a fourth quarter comeback attempt from Southeast Asian neighbor Thailand to complete a 68-58 win in the 2024 William Jones Cup on Tuesday at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in Taiwan.

The Filipinas, who were coming off a tough two-point loss to Japan Universiade yesterday, bounced back and improved to an even 2-2 record to keep their slim title hopes alive. The Thais, on the other hand, fell to a similar 2-2 slate.

The Philippines held a lead as big as 18 points, but that slowly dwindled after Thailand stepped on the gas in the payoff period thanks to the hot hand of Sasiporn Wongtapha, whose crucial layup and back-to-back free throws cut their deficit to single digits, 62-56.

But the young guns of head coach Patrick Aquino showed up when it mattered most with the 19-year-old Camille Nolasco burying a triple to allow Gilas take a 65-56 cushion with 1:17 left to play.

Another three-pointer from the top of the key by the 18-year-old Naomi Panganiban made the Gilas lead too large to overcome.

Jack Animam imposed her will on the paint and finished with a double-double of 10 points and 21 rebounds alongside two assists and one block while both Panganiban and Nolasco tallied nine markers apiece.

Wongtapha, a long-time member of Thailand national team, paced her team with 18 points alongside nine rebounds and two assists.

Gilas will look to end its campaign on a high note on Wednesday when it takes on Chinese Taipei A at 7 p.m.

In order for Gilas to win the championship, the nationals should defeat its final opponent by a large margin and hope for Japan to lose its next two games against Malaysia and Thailand. The tournament has no playoff round, making the top team after all the games in the preliminaries as the automatic champion.

—JMB, GMA Integrated News

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