Gilas Pilipinas girls’ youth squad continued its impressive run at the FIBA U16 Women’s Asia Championship 2023, securing their second straight win with a dominant performance against Maldives. The Filipino squad cruised to a commanding 144-22 victory in Jordan on Tuesday night, July 11.
The team showcased exceptional depth and balance, as all 12 players who saw action contributed to the scoring. Leading the way was Sophia Canindo with 21 points and six assists. Aubrey Lapasaran and Nevaeh Smith added 16 points each, while Ava Fajardo, Isabelle De Jesus, and Kimi Sayson chipped in with 13 points apiece.
From the opening tip, Gilas Girls set the tone with suffocating defense and relentless offensive execution. They held the Maldives scoreless for over three minutes to start the game and dominated the first quarter, amassing a commanding 41-5 lead.
The team’s dominance continued throughout the game, particularly during a remarkable stretch in the middle quarters. From the 7:40 mark of the second quarter to the six-minute mark of the third period, Gilas Youth embarked on an incredible 40-0 run. Their swarming defense forced an astounding 73 turnovers, leading to 103 points off those turnovers.
Gilas Girls improved their record to 2-0 in Group A with this victory. Next, they are set to face the host nation, Jordan, on Thursday, July 13, at 12:30 AM (Philippine Time). The top seed from Group A will then square off against the second seed from Group B in the crossover semifinals.
The stakes are high in the tournament, as the winning team will earn a promotion to Division A for the FIBA U16 Women’s Asia Championship in 2025.
In their tournament opener, Gilas Pilipinas Youth showcased their talent and determination, delivering a convincing 79-40 victory against Hong Kong.
Ava Fajardo led the offensive charge with 17 points, displaying efficiency with an 8-for-14 shooting performance. She also contributed six rebounds and three assists. Ryan Nair added 12 points, including two three-pointers, while Alyssia Palma chipped in with 10 points. The scoring was well-distributed among the team, with six other players recording at least five points, underscoring the balanced attack.
Defensively, Gilas Youth exhibited their prowess, tallying 22 steals and forcing 34 turnovers. Fajardo and Nair stood out with four steals each, while the team limited Hong Kong to a meager 22.7 percent shooting from the field.
The ultimate goal for all teams in the tournament is to secure promotion to Division A for the FIBA U16 Women’s Asia Championship in 2025. Gilas Pilipinas Youth is determined to continue their winning streak and make that dream a reality.