Gilas Pilipinas Women earned a sixth-place finish in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2023 following an 80-71 decision against Korea Saturday at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre in Australia.
Down by as many as 19 points late in the third quarter, Gilas fought back and got to within striking distance. Korea entered the final frame with a 66-55 advantage, but a 6-0 run to start the period quickly changed the complexion of the game.
A drive by Afril Bernardino cut the deficit to just three points, 71-68, with four minutes remaining. Unfortunately for the side of the Philippines, Leeseul Kang quelled the rally with a booming triple. Korea was able to keep Gilas at bay for the rest of the way.
Bernardino once again put her imprint on the game by tallying a team-high 16 points alongside nine rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Jack Animam powered her way to 12 points and eight boards while Khate Castillo fired 12 points off the bench.
“Again we fell short but [I’m] still proud of the girls. They never gave up. I think the gaps are closing for us. And I hope we continue doing this in the future,” said head coach Pat Aquino. “When we go back, it’s a great energy for us in preparing for the next one.”
Gilas’ highlight of the tournament was its impressive victory over Chinese Taipei in the group stage that allowed entry into the qualification game for the semifinals.
The Philippines’ sixth-place finish is the country’s highest ranking in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup since competing in Division A in 2015.