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Pontejos, Castillo save Perlas from relegation, torch India

By Mark Angelo Mañez

PHOTO: FIBA

Manila - Perlas Pilipinas took matters from rainbow distance when it needed most as they scraped past India, 74-70, extending their Division A stay at the 2021 FIBA Asia Women's Cup in Amman, Jordan Friday midnight.

Khate Castillo and Janine Pontejos leaned on taking matters from long distance as they torched the Indians with their combined 11 triples. Their combined 44 markers, spiced with six rebounds and five assists helped the Filipinas extend their stay at the elite group.

After falling by double digits after tipoff, Perlas started putting brakes on both ends of the floor while trailing 39-34 at halftime.

Three-time UAAP MVP Afril Bernardino also contributed serious damage to their victims with her bruising patrol in the shaded lane. She chalked up eight markers, 14 boards and four blocks overall.

Third period came and Castillo started her long range barrage, flipping the deficit into a three point cushion, forcing India to hit their panic button. But it was too little too late for India to recover after her last pair of triples gave them a 73-65 cushion.

Coach Pat Aquino's wards also forced the Indians to 22 turnovers which in turn transformed into 25 markers all throughout.

The victory also served as a repeat of their 92-78 7-8th classification conquest in 2019. 

India, meanwhile fell to Division B with the loss. Pushpa Senthil Kumar topscored for India with 15 points and 12 rebounds as the team sorely missed the services of top rebounder Navaneetha Pattemane Udayakumar.


The scores:

PHILIPPINES 74 - Pontejos 22, Castillo 22, Bernardino 9, Clarin 8, Castro 4, Nabalan 3, Tongco 3, Cabinbin 3, Fajardo 0, Prado 0, Cayabyab 0.

INDIA 70 - P. Senthil Kumar 15, S. Senthil Kumar 12, Limaye 10, Kumari 10, Masilamani 9, Arvind 7, Nixon 7, Rani 0, Yadav 0.

Quarters: 13-19, 34-39, 55-52, 74-70.