By REYNALD MAGALLON
There’s no mercy rule in basketball so the Gilas Pilipinas Women absorbed a 91-point beatdown — 143-52 — at the hands of mighty China in the opener of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup at the Prince Hamza Hall in Ammam, Jordan late Monday.
The Nationals gave it their all – challenging the Asian superpower in every possession, sometimes throwing a triple-teaming defense and rotating the ball as often as they can to find a way to make a clear shot, but the Chinese were simply too classy.
Using their height advantage, the Chinese shrugged off early resistance from Gilas as they slowly and surely built a commanding lead.
The massacre started with a 15-3 run but Gilas unleashed its own 7-0 counter to pull within five, 15-10, and keep a close gap against the tall but quick Chinese squad.
The fightback, however, was short-lived as the Chinese started to break the game wide open following a blistering 20-7 run to end the first quarter.
The world No. 7 ranked team never looked back from that point as it poured 34 points against Gilas’ 12 to erect a 40-point bubble at the half.
Gilas simply had no answer against the Chinese who outscored the Nationals, 74-23, in the second half.
China’s defense, which was anchored on the 6-foot-9 Han Xu, limited Gilas to a 30-percent field goal percentage while also dominating the rebound battle, 55-23. They also shared the ball better, 52-5 and forced Gilas to 24 turnovers against their 12.
Afril Bernardino was the lone bright spot and the only double-digit scorer for the Nationals with 17 points to go with her seven rebounds and two assists. Janine Pontejos and Nathalia Prado added seven and six points, respectively.
China was led by Liwei Yan who exploded with 21 points while Yueru Li added 18 markers. Xu also contributed 17 points and six rebounds.
Gilas will take on another powerhouse team in Australia on September 29. (Manila time).
CHINA 143 – Liwei 21, Yueru 18, Xu 17, Ru 15, Yuan 13, Yifan 13, Hengyu 11, Siyu 10, Zhenqi 9, Sijing 9, Tontong7, Meng 0.
GILAS PILIPINAS 52 – Bernardino 17, Pontejos 7, Prado 6, Fajardo 6, Nabalan 5, Castro 5, Castillo 3, Clarin 3, Cayabyab 0, Pingol 0, Cabinbin 0, Tongco 0.