MALACCA, MALAYSIA — For the third straight game, Perlas Pilipinas was able to give its opponent a sound beating. And for the second time in three matches, another newcomer stepped up big.
Janine Pontejos, a last-minute substitute for the ailing Ewon Arayi, validated her spot in the national team as she unloaded seven triples on the way to finishing with 23 points in leading the Filipinas to a 134-56 rout of Vietnam in the Seba Women’s Championship on Thursday at the Bukit Serendit Indoor Stadium.
One of four newcomers in the line up, Pontejos came off the bench and showed what she’s capable of doing. She hit three of her first four attempts in the first half and finished the job by making four more in the fourth period against the overmatched Vietnamese.
Her last triple for the Blackwater Women-backed Perlas Pilipinas gave the team a 75-point lead, 129-54, in the final minute of the match.
But for head coach Patrick Aquino, it was the team’s defensive effort which was more commendable.
“We won’t be having this easy win if not for those players who committed to play good defense. I really like the effort we’ve shown on defense,” said Aquino, whose team forced Vietnam to 45 turnovers and scored 58 from those miscues.
It was the third straight win in as many games for Perlas Pilipinas, which holds the provisional solo lead pending the result of the Malaysia-Singapore match later in the day.
But the real test begins on Friday when the Filipinas battle Indonesian in the main game at 8 p.m.
The Filipinas opened up with a 26-8 lead, taking advantage of their advantage in skills and manpower over a Vietnamese team that is just starting its program under Pinoy coach Jojo Castillo.
Raiza Dy’s triple inside the final minute of the second period put Perlas Pilipinas ahead by 45, 63-18.