MANILA, Philippines—Battling fatigue and an enemy enjoying the crowd’s loud cheers, the Philippines faltered against host Vietnam, 21-18, in the women’s 3×3 event of the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi.
Gilas was forced into a 2-7 corner early, but a collective effort had the Nationals taking a 16-12 advantage halfway through the duel at Thanh Tri Gymnasium.
The Philippines, however, had little answer when Vietnam started connecting from long distance, ultimately dooming the defending champions to a 1-1 record early in the race.
Afril Bernardino turned in her finest outing in the tournament, scoring seven points to lead the Filipinos. Janine Pontejos added six more while Clare Castro four and Angel Surada one.
Gilas’ title-retention bid remains pretty much alive despite the loss, as the Philippines only needs to finish inside the top four to advance to the semifinal round.
The Philippines still has one more assignment left on Friday. They play Thailand just before Sunday in a rematch of the 2019 gold medal match.
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