Pinay ballers keep gold medal bid alive after cardiac game
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 11, 2015 01:24 PM
I told my girls not to think about the seven points but to take it a point at a time. They played their best so I’m very proud of them --- head coach Patrick Aquino
SINGAPORE --- The Philippine women’s basketball team came through with a key victory on Thursday, throttling Malaysia, 74-63, to stay in gold-medal contention in the 28th Singapore Southeast Asian Games at the OCBC Arena Hall 1 here.
Needing not only a win but also by at least a margin of seven points to sustain their championship hopes, the Filipinas survived some scary moments in the last two minutes before pulling it off to book their second straight triumph in three matches in the single-round series.
Cindy Resultay and veteran point guard Merecenciana Arayi conspired in the waning seconds in preserving the winning margin with clutch free throws and had 15 points each while Far Eastern U product Allana Lim led all scorers with 20 points.
“I told my girls not to think about the seven points but to take it a point at a time. They played their best so I’m very proud of them,” said head coach Patrick Aquino, whose charges were deadlocked with the Malaysians at 30-all after the first half.
Aquino also singled out Arayi “because she redeemed herself,” recalling the 57-62 setback to defending champion Thailand two days ago when the playmaker made costly miscues down the stretch.
He added that they need to sweep their last two matches against Indonesia on Friday and against Singapore on Monday. But they will also need to pray that Malaysia, which upsets Thailand, 65-56, last Wednesday, does not lose any of its remaining games to finally bag the country’s first women’s basketball crown in the sportsfest.
With the Philippines up 69-57 lead with 1:28 left, Magdalene Low drilled two successive triples against a Resultay basket, narrowing the gap to 63-71.
But Arayi sank a free throw for a 72-63 count with 34 second remaining, then Lim made a key block on the opposite end, subsequently leading to two free throws by Resultay, who canned them both with eight seconds to go wrap it up.
Malaysia’s Nur Izzati Yaakob missed a desperation triple just inside their half court as time expired while the Nationals gathered around at midcourt hugging themselves in jubilation, knowing that they still had a crack at the gold medal.