Perlas Pilipinas remains in Level 1 of FIBA Asia Cup after breakthrough win over North Korea
Afril Bernardino and the rest of Perlas Pilipinas will remain in Level 1 of the FIBA Asia Women's Cup.

BANGALORE, India – Perlas Pilipinas saved its best for last as it kept its mastery of North Korea,  78-63, to end its campaign in the FIBA Asia Women’s Cup on a winning note Saturday at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium here.

It was the first ever win by the Filipina cagebelles in the tournament serving as qualifier to the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Spain, and meant retaining their slot in Level 1 competition.

Perlas finished seventh in the classification phase of the eighth-team meet after losing earlier their first five outings.

The team also beat North Korea, 68-67, the first time they met in this same tournament two years ago during Perlas’ successful bid for Level 1 promotion in Wuhan, China.

“Kaya nga e, suki na,” quipped coach Pat Aquino of his team’s repeat win over North Korea.

Alyanna Lim led the Filipinas’ cause with 16 points, Cindy Resultay added 10 rebounds, while France Mae Cabinbin dished off eight assists.

The national team is set to return for Manila on Monday morning.

In other results, former champion China turned back South Korea, 75-51, in the battle for the bronze, while defending two-time champion Japan is still battling Australia for the gold as of post time. All four teams, however, already clinched berths to next year’s World Cup.

Chinese Taipei salvaged fifth place after clobbering New Zealand, 65-45.

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