By Mark Angelo Mañez


Manila - Perlas Pilipinas suffered a second mauling in the hands of world no. 3 Australia, 120-56 in Day 2 of the 2021 FIBA Women's Asia Cup preliminaries at the Prince Hamza Court in Amman, Jordan Tuesday night (early midnight PHL).

Coach Patrick Aquino's girls showed vast improvements after absorbing mighty China's 143-52 bamboozling the previous night.

The girls showed grit and resistance against the Opals of coach Paul Goriss in the opening period, managing a 12-point gap right after, 32-20.

But a morale-shrinking 15-0 assault in the early part of second quarter put Perlas off their footing, allowing the Australians control the rest of the match, 64-33.

"To be honest, when we go into the game, we don't focus on the accolades of who we're facing. We just focus on the goal which is to win, and to focus on what we're doing as a team," Camille Clarin said.

Janine Pontejos led the squad this time with her 13-point output, spiked with three triples with Kristine Cayabyab backing her while contributing 10 markers. Burly 6-foot-5 center Afril Bernardino stood tough with her eight point, three board production.

Lauren Nicholson paced the Opals with 21 markers, six boards and three dimes, leading four others chipping in double figures. New York Liberty guard Sami Whitcomb also made serious damage for victors despite having a quiet eight point, seven rebound, seven assist contribution.

"I think the first, second, third quarters, we gave it our all, but we kind of fell short towards the end. Going to our game tomorrow, we'll definitely going to focus on giving it our all all the way to the end cause that's what matters," said Clarin, hopeful that the tough outings against China and Australia could motivate the Filipinas to bounce back stronger to finish their Group B assignments.

"The experience is definitely great and hopefully, we can bring that experience that we learned today and just go all out."

Both squads cap their campaigns tomorrow night hoping for better outcomes. Australia will face the mighty Chinese for a slot in the Final 4, while Perlas Pilipinas remain optimistic as they take on Chinese Taipei (0-2) for the remaining playoff ticket.

AUSTRALIA 120 -- Nicholson 21, Froling 18, Garbin 12, Sharp 12, Scherf 12, Shelley 10, Melbourne 9, Whitcomb 8, Mangakahia 7, Aokuso 4, Wehrung 4, Wallace 3.

PHILIPPINES 56 -- Pontejos 13, Cayabyab 10, Bernardino 8, Nabalan 8, Castillo 6, Clarin 6, Castro 3, Cabinbin 2, Tongco 0, Fajardo 0, Prado 0.

Quarters: 32-20, 64-33, 91-46, 120-56.