10 - 16
July 2023
Philippines v Iran
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Philippines get the job done, beat Iran to earn Division A promotion

AMMAN (Jordan) - The Philippines finally got the job done this time after securing the promotion they've always wanted following an 83-60 beatdown of Iran in the Final of the FIBA U16 Women's Asian Championship 2023-Division B, Sunday evening at the Prince Hamzah Sport Hall.

An 11-0 run behind the efforts of Nevaeh Smith, Alyssia Palma, and Sophia Canindo en route to a big 74-51 lead with 5:17 remaining in the game all but ensured the Gilas Girls' ticket to the topflight level - as well as the completion of a redemption tour that was a year in the making.

It could be recalled that the Philippines emerged as a favorite to rule the second division in last year's competition after sweeping the Group Phase 3-0, only to bow to eventual winners Samoa in the Semi-Finals. They settled for a third-place finish instead by beating Lebanon.

But Coach Pat Aquino and his wards devoted themselves to exorcising the ghost of the past, and they did just that as they conquered this year's Division B via five-game sweep.

Smith led the way with a game-high 21 points on 5 triples. Ava Fajardo made 12 points and 9 assists while Ariel De La O added 10 markers and 10 boards as the trio helped out in taking control of the match in the second period, which they opened up with a 9-0 run for their first double-digit lead.

Now, the Gilas Girls can set their sights to Division A of the competitions in 2025, with the program, of course, hoping to remain in that level for the next editions to come.

Meanwhile, Helya Houdneh and Fatemeh Jafari finished with 14 points apiece to lead Iran.


Malaysia finish third

Malaysia stormed back to beat Hong Kong, 52-46, to finish third in Division B.

Ke Xin Lee finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds, while Jolin Ting Pei Win provided 10 points and 7 boards as well as the two spearheaded the Malaysians' 16-4 assault to wipe out a 10-point deficit and build a 48-44 lead with under two minutes left in the game.

With a bit of aid from Xin Yu Oh, Lee and Ting would also apply the finishing touches through their splits from the free throw line in the final seconds to clinch the 

The victory gave Malaysia their second podium finish in the Division B competitions after settling for a runner-up finish to hosts India in the 2017 competitions in Bengaluru.

Wan Ki Mak, on the other hand, had 15 points for Hong Kong, who missed four straight free throws with less than 47 seconds left that could have given them the lead back.

Relegated to the second division after placing eighth in 2017, Hong Kong will finish fourth following the heartbreaking defeat.