FILE – Janine Pontejos. Tristan Tamayo/

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines destroyed Cambodia, 21-5, on Friday afternoon, getting its title defense in the Southeast Asian Games women’s 3×3 event off on the right foot.

Janine Pontejos, who was crowned queen of the 3×3 World Cup here four years ago, shot the basketball with deadly accuracy, finishing with eight points in the contest at Thanh Tri Gymnasium in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Clare Castro was an undeniable force down low, adding seven more in an outing that seemed like a replica of the men’s team conquest of Cambodia just hours earlier.

Afril Bernardino and Angel Surada tossed in three points each to give the Philippines a confidence-building win ahead of its clash with host Vietnam set at 4 p.m. also Friday.

Gilas came out the gates hard, turning a 4-0 start behind seasoned veterans Castro, Bernardino and Pontejos. The Cambodians tried to make it a bit interesting halfway through the clash, but the Filipinos came back from a timeout with double the zest, shooting the basketball with confidence and pairing that with unrelenting effort on the other end to score nine points in succession and sealing its first win in the campaign.

Also lined up for the Philippines is Thailand, which settled for a silver medal after falling to Gilas in the 2019 edition of the biennial tournament staged in Manila.


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