By REYLAND MAGALLON
Janine Pontejos and Khate Castillo waxed hot from the distance and Gilas Pilipinas Women scored its breakthrough win, a 74-70 decision over India, to keep its Division A status after finishing at seventh place in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup at Prince Hamza Hall in Ammam, Jordan on Thursday (Friday, Manila Time).
Pontejos set the tone by unloading 17 of her 22 points in the first half before a red-hot Castillo took over in the next two quarters to finish with 22 points spiked by seven treys.
After shooting just 2-of-14 from the 3-point area in a 93-52 loss to Chinese Taipei, Gilas sizzled with 15 triples on a 38-percent shooting clip against the world No. 70 India.
Afril Bernardino provided the steady presence for the Nationals, scattering an all-around performance of nine points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and four blocks.
India threatened to break away after posting a 23-13 lead early in the second frame but Pontejos came through with timely baskets that kept the Indians within the striking distance.
An 8-1 spurt proved to be the push the Nationals needed as they seized a 55-48 lead late in the third, before Castillo shouldered the offense in the final frame despite the resistance from the Indians.
Pontejos hit four three-pointers, added five rebounds and two assists while Camille Clarin also showed up for Gilas with eight points with two rainbow connections.
Pushpa Senthil Kumar led India with 15 points while team captain Shireen Vijay Limaye added a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds for her team which finished win-less in the tournament.