FIBA Women’s Asia Cup: India relegated from Division-A

The home team needed to win this playoff to retain its elite Division-A spot, but found the speedy Filipinos too hot to handle.

India suffered a 92-78 loss to the Philippines in the 7th-place playoff here on Friday.   -  k. murali kumar

India suffered relegation from the elite Division-A of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup basketball tournament, after a 92-78 loss to the Philippines in the 7th-place playoff here on Friday.

The wooden spoon finish also meant that India will not feature in the FIBA Pre-Qualifying Olympic tournament.

The home team needed to win this playoff to retain its elite Division-A spot, but found the speedy Filipinos too hot to handle. Point guard Marizze Andrea (8 assists) ran circles around the Indians, and regularly found her open teammates in the lane.

Shooting guards Anna Castillo (15 points), skipper Janine Pontejos (18 points) and Ria Nabalan (13 points) were deadly from beyond the arc, helping the visitor sink 13 three-pointers.

India did cut the lead to just one point in the third quarter, but could do little once the Philippines shooters got into the groove. Shireen Limaye (23 points) was once again India’s top performer.

Big disparity

Overall, the tournament exposed the gulf in quality between India and the top continental nations. Speed, physical play, set plays, shooting efficiency — India was not on equal terms in any department of the game. This disparity was highlighted in the big group stage defeats to Japan, Chinese Taipei and Korea.

India entered the must-win match against Philippines with a slight size advantage, but even that was nullified as the gritty Filipinos comfortably won the rebound battle 51-39.

Australia and Korea sealed semifinal berths with victories over Chinese Taipei and New Zealand respectively.

The results: Quarterfinals: Korea 58 (Yuh An Youm 10, Leeseul Kang 13, Hyeyoon Bae 13) bt New Zealand 52 (Penina Davidson 12); Australia 90 (Bec Allen 15, Ezi Magbegor 13, Cayla George 12, Steph Talbot 11, Sara Blicavs 10) bt Chinese Taipei 51 (Wei Chen 11, Ling Huang 11).

7th place playoff match: Philippines 92 (Ana Alicia Castillo 15, Janine Pontejos 18, Ria Joy Nabalan 13, Kelli Hayes 11, Gemma Miranda 11) bt India 78 (P.U. Naveenatha 15, Shireen Limaye 23, H.M. Bhandavya 12, Jeena Skaria 10)

Semifinal line-up (Saturday): Japan v Australia; China v Korea.