FIBA Asia U18: Sugapong explodes for 28 to lift Gilas girls past Samoa

Pitted against a team slowly becoming its regional rival in the youth level, the Gilas Pilipinas U18 women’s national team leaned on the exploits of Sumayah Sugapong to seal a hard-earned win.

Sugapong exploded for 28 points and added six rebounds, five assists, and four steals as the Philippines fended off Samoa, 66-59 on Tuesday at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium for their second victory in the FIBA U18 Asian Women’s Championship 2022 in Bengaluru, India.

The young Pinays had a strong 21-9 start in the first quarter but the Samoans kept fighting back to put themselves in a position to steal the match.

Alanah Shae Manumaleuga knocked down a triple midway in the fourth that pulled them within 52-56 with over five minutes left.

But Gilas responded with composure, going on a telling 8-0 run in the next three minutes behind six points from Louna Ozar as the lead ballooned to 64-52 with 2:11 remaining.

Sugapong more than tripled her first game output of nine points in Gilas’ conquest of Thailand yesterday, 65-50.

Kristan Yumul added 16 points and five boards, while Ozar and Kate Bobadilla chipped in eight markers each as coach Patrick Aquino’s starters did the heavy lifting in the win.

Samoa’s young star, Kira-May Filemu, played the entire game to tally a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds and lead the team. She also had seven steals.

The Philippines will wrap up its group phase schedule against the lowly Maldives tomorrow. photo

Levi Joshua Jr Verora

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