Wednesday, November 3, 2010

RP cagebelles bag SEABA crown

24th Southeast Asian GamesImage via Wikipedia
MANILA, Philippines — The Discovery Perlas Pilipinas women’s team is indeed for real.
That’s what the RP squad proved on Friday as it embarrassed the Asian Games-bound Thailand for the second straight day, 76-54, to rule the SEABA Women’s Championship at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Playing as if they were the ones going to Guangzhou for the quadrennial sportsfest next month, the Nationals showed steely resolve to outplay the taller and heftier Thai dribblers to capture their first-ever SEABA crown.
The win – a follow up to their 83-57 win in a no-bearing game the other day – enabled the Nationals to complete a five-game sweep of the tournament and avenge their two championship defeats to the Thais, including the Ratchasima, Thailand SEA Games in 2007 – the same year the country’s suspension was lifted by FIBA.
Joan Grajales paced the RP cagebelles with 14 points highlighted by three triples, while Diana Jose poured in nine of her 12 markers in the first half to help the team repel Thailand’s late comeback.
While they shot well from afar, the Nationals also played even better defensively as they shackled the top gunners of the two-time SEABA champion.
“Nasunod lahat ng game plan namin. They played great from start to finish at hindi sila bumitaw,” said RP coach Haydee Ong.
Merenciana Arayi also provided the needed firepower for the Nationals as she fired 11 points while Melissa Jacob and Cassie Tioseco terrorized shaded lane by combining for 13 boards.
Earlier, five-time champion Malaysia dumped Indonesia, 91-61, to finish third.
The RP dribblers unloaded eight of their 11 treys in the first half but only led by one point, 37-36, at halftime as the Thais kept on coming back.
Arayi, Chovi Borja and Anna Pineda keyed the team’s decisive breakaway late in the third that saw them post a 55-43 cushion which they padded to 68-51 midway in the final period.
“I have injured players so I have problems with my team. But I’m not going to dwell on this loss and instead look beyond our campaign in the Asian Games,” said Thailand’s Chinese coach Xuan Min Zhao.
The scores:
— Grajales 14, Jose 12, Arayi 11, Jacob 7, Mercado 6, Tioseco 5, Pineda 5, Valencia 4, Adriano 4, Borja 3, Gloriani 3, Tolentino 2.
THAILAND 54 — Suksomwong 21, Banmoo 15, Saechua 8, MMathuros 6, Chirdpetcharat 3, Sangkhum 1, Doksaiyud 0, Panurushthanon 0, Jantakan 0, Kaichaiyapoom 0, Eiamsum-ang 0, Yothanan 0.
Quarters: 17-9, 37-36, 55-45, 76-54.

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