SINGAPORE – The Philippine girl dribblers finally delivered and captured the gold in the event closest to Filipino hearts.
Playing with fire in their eyes, the girls demolished host Singapore, 82-32, Wednesday to clinch the gold medal in the 9th ASEAN Schools Games.
With a handful of supporters and some Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in attendance at Tampines Sports Hub, the Filipino team broke the game wide open early and never looked back in scoring their fourth win in the tournament against no defeat.
The 50 points were the biggest winning margin for the girls, who earlier beat Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
For Coach Angelina Fedillaga, preparation for this year's edition of the ASG was the key to success after ending up the bridesmaid twice to Thailand, in 2014 and 2015.
Failing to achieve their ultimate goal in the past editions of the ASEAN Schools Games forced the coaching staff and the girls to go back to the drawing board and regroup.
This time, Fedillaga made sure the outcome was different. She knew that with the right players, they can win the gold.
“Ayaw na namin magsettle sa runner-up finish. Mindset namin talaga is to win the gold. In-instill ko talaga yan sa kanila (We don’t to settle for the runner-up finish this time. Our mindset was to win the gold),” Fedillaga said.
Having assembled the best girl’s basketball players in the country, the team finally clinched that elusive gold medal.
Kristine Cayabyab played her best game in the tournament, scoring a team-high 21 markers in the final game.
Kent Jane Pastrana and Jeeul Rhcoel B. Bartolo added13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Philippines.
Cayabyab, who took part in a six-week training in the Nike Rise basketball program under the direct supervision of national team head coach Vincent Chot Reyes in 2015, showcased flashes of her explosiveness and scoring abilities as pulled off an all-around performance against Singapore.
“We played with pride and teamwork. That’s why we won,” Fedillaga said in the vernacular.
“Sobrang happy talaga. 1st time namin maggold. The credit for our success goes to the girl for playing well,” she added.
Pastrana, 16, a Grade 10 student from Doña Montserrat Lopez Memorial High School whose contributions played a big part in the team’s success, said there is no star player since all of them are given equal opportunities and minutes on the playing court.
“Nagconcentrate lang ako kung ano ang maitutulong ko sa team. Happy ako na naging part ako sa success ng team dito ASEAN Schools Games (I just played my role on the court. I’m happy that I made a difference for my team),” Pastrana said.
After winning the gold, Fedillaga said they are planning to have a victory celebration dinner with the bosses of the SM Markets who also sponsored the playing uniforms of the team.
“After ng dinner baka bukas maglilibot din kami dito sa Singapore (We will also go on a city tour tomorrow),” Fedillaga said. (PSC PR)
DOMINANCE. Players and coaching staff of girls basketball team flash smiles while holding the Philippine flag after demolishing the host Singapore, 82-32, Wednesday to clinch the gold medal in the 9th ASEAN School Games. Also in the photo are Philippine Sports Commissioner Charles Raymond A. Maxey, Philippines Chef-De-Mission Rizalino Jose Rosales, and deputy CDM Cesar Abalon.