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Gilas Girls rout Iran to earn Division A promotion, complete perfect FIBA U16 Asia run


MANILA, Philippines, July 17 ------ Gilas Girls now belong with the elite in Asia. The Philippines earned a promotion to Division A of the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship after an 83-60 blowout of Iran at the Prince Hamzah Stadium in Amman, Jordan.


Nevaeh Smith fired a team-high 21 points in 21 minutes to lead the Filipinas, who completed their unbeaten run to capture the Division B crown. Smith sank one of her five three-pointers at the end of the first half for a sizable 41-16 cushion as Gilas Girls pulled away in the second period after holding a slim 19-15 edge. The Filipinas dropped 22 points in the second quarter, scoring twice as many as the Iranians, and controlled the title clash the rest of the way.


Ava Fajardo posted 12 points and 9 assists in the victory, Ariel Star de La O put up a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Rylee Palma supplied 8 points on a perfect 4-of-4 clip to go with 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Kimi Sayson chimed in 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals for the Philippines. Gilas Girls recorded 16 steals in total, with 4 coming from Scarlett Mercado and 3 each coming from Sophia Canindo and Ryan Kelly Nair.


The win redeemed the Filipinas after their heartbreaking campaign last year that saw them fall short of a Division A berth, no thanks to a stunning semifinal exit. Undefeated going to the final four, Gilas Girls were given the boot following a shocking 88-73 loss to Samoa – the same team they crushed by 29 points in the group stage.


This time, the Philippines did not leave anything to chance and ended the tournament with an average winning margin of 53.4 points to secure its place in Division A, where powerhouses Australia, Japan, and China play.


Helya Houdneh paced the Iranians with 14 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals, while Fatemeh Jafari also finished with 14 points.


Malaysia clinched third place after hacking out a 52-46 win over Hong Kong.


The Scores:

Philippines 83 – Smith 21, Fajardo 12, De La O 10, Palma 8, Sayson 8, Canindo 7, Mercado 6, Arnaldo 5, Nair 4, Lapasaran 2, De Jesus 0, Navarro 0.

Iran 60 – Houdneh 14, Fajari 14, Zamani Dehyaghoubi 9, Yazdani Zazerani 8, Bazoobandi 6, Zarei 6, Rahimi 3, Moridi Khorgoo 0.

Quarters: 19-15, 41-26, 59-45, 83-60.


Source: rappler.com

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