Fil-French Louna Ozar struck with 22 points as the Gilas Pilipinas national women’s basketball team demolished Maldives on Wednesday in the FIBA U18 Women’s Asian Championship 2022 Division B tournament at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in Bangalore.
The heroics of 17-year-old Ozar, a 5’8” guard from French ballclub ESB Villeneuve-d’Ascq Lille Metropole, enabled the Filipinas to pull off a three-game sweep of Group A and reach the semifinals on Thursday.
Her Fil-am teammate Kate Bobadilla and Fil-Canadian standout Ryhanna Calvert added 17 points for the Gilas Women, who never looked back from a 6-0 spurt, en route to a 21-6 edge at the end of the first period.
A day earlier, it was payback time for the team against Samoa.
Sumayah Sugapong led Gilas Women with 28 points as the Filipina cagers got back from a past defeat to the same foes with a 66-59 victory.
Sugapong unloaded nine during a decisive run the first quarter, spearheading the Filipinas’ big 19-7 start that set the tempo for the rest of the game.
Kristan Yumul banged in 16 points built on 5 triples, to go with 5 rebounds,3 assists, and a steal for the Philippines.
The Patrick Aquino-coached Gilas also drew eight points each from Bobadilla and Ozar for the sole leadership in Group A.
“We are just happy to be competing here in the FIBA Asia Cup Under-18 for almost a decade now. The experiences we are having are great for the women’s program and the next generation of Gilas women,” said Aquino in an interview with the Manila Standard.
Kira-May Filemu led Samoa with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 7 steals in a loss that allowed the Philippines to avenge their setback to the same team that kept the Filipinas from advancing to Division A in the U16 Women’s Asian Championship last June.
Samoa, which dropped to 1-1, also got big plays from Malia Jae Ruud, who chalked up a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds, to go with an assist and a steal each.
Thailand, on the other hand, crushed Maldives, 124-31, and Hong Kong escaped Jordan, 72-57, in other encounters.
Laksamee Hewchaiyaphuim led the way for the Thais with 21 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and a block in helping Thailand recover from a loss to the Philippines