BOCAUE — Hungary may have come away with the victory, but the Philippines gave them the fits in their clash in the 2018 Fiba 3x3 World Cup on Sunday.
“They surprised us,” admitted Bettina Bozoki after the Hungarians’ 18-15 win over the home side.
Experience was undoubtedly on the side of Hungary, which came to the women’s tournament seeded third. That edge couldn’t be any more glaring against the Philippines, which is making its debut in the tournament.
But what the Hungarians didn’t expect was how competent the Filipinas were. At one point, the Philippines even held a 10-6 lead before foul trouble doomed the hosts.
The Perlas girls may have lost the battle, but they earned the respect of their foes.
“How we see them, they’re a good team,” said the 28-year-old Bozoki. “We’re just fighting and we tried to play what we can. We are strong so we tried to play our game, not play their game.”
Bozoki, currently No. 2 in scoring with 29 points after the prelims, also expressed her gratitude to the raucous crowd that watched them play inside Philippine Arena.
“We are so thankful for everything because the fans and the atmosphere here in the Philippines is so amazing. I just want to say thank you for everything,” she said.
Bozoki is bracing for a tougher road as the tournament shifts to playoff mode. Hungary faces Pool B top seed China in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
“Every game is gonna be tough because it’s the World Cup. You won’t have easy games here. It was hard and tough, but I think we deserve our wins. We now go on to the best eight and I’m so happy,” she said.
“I expect hard, tough, and physical games, but I hope we can be in the best four.”