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Gilas Pilipinas girls start U16 Asian Championship on high note in beating team from Hong Kong, 79-40

GILAS PILIPINAS girls clobbered Hong Kong, 79-40, for a roaring start in a serious redemption bid in the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championships Division B early yesterday at the Prince Hamzah Hall in Amman, Jordan.

Ava Fajardo, sister of Gilas women standout Ella, collected 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and four steals as the Filipinas secured win No. 1 in Group A in a lopsided fashion.

Ryan Kelly Nair (12) and Alyssia Palma (10) pumped in help with six more players racking up the scoring board for Gilas, which is out to complete unfinished business after a foiled effort last edition.

Gilas topped the group phase in 2022 but bowed to Samoa in the semifinals to fall short of Division A promotion. Samoa eventually won Division B to climb the ladder.

The Philippines made sure to start its revenge tour on a high note, banking on a 25-9 rally to pull away from a close 12-11 score early on. At the turn, Gilas was already miles ahead with a commanding 37-20 lead that it even expanded to as high as 41 points in the second half.

Gilas was to play Maldives late last night before going up against host Jordan tomorrow morning. Maldives bowed to Jordan, 94-32, in its opening match.

The goal for Gilas is to finish in the top two of Group A to clinch a seat in the crossover semifinals against the top finishers from Group B featuring Malaysia, Iran, Singapore and Guam.

Meanwhile, Tsz Ching Kam (14) and Yan Ting Tai (11) led the way for Hong Kong. — John Bryan Ulanday

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