Basketball: Can Perlas Pilipinas end SEA Games 'jinx?'
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — For Perlas Pilipinas, the 2017 Southeast Asian Games gives them a chance to earn a measure of redemption after a truly heartbreaking result in Singapore two years ago, when the Filipinas let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers.
A huge 74-63 win over Malaysia in their third game had put the Philippines on the brink of gold for the first time ever in the biennial meet. But disaster struck in their very next game, with a 61-56 setback to Indonesia that wound up dooming the Philippines’ chances.
Not only did the Philippine women’s basketball team not win the gold – they failed to make it to the podium at all, instead finishing in fourth place.
“I think this is the time, iyong payback time na tinatawag natin for the heartbreaking loss that we had in 2015,” Perlas Pilipinas coach Pat Aquino told ABS-CBN News upon the team’s arrival in Kuala Lumpur on Friday evening.
“We’re hoping na we can do better this time,” he said.
More than payback, however, the Filipinas are simply focused on ending a long “jinx” and finally getting the nation’s first gold in women’s basketball.
“They were saying na there is a jinx in the women’s basketball, in getting that gold,” Aquino said. “We’re hoping to erase that this year.”
“We talked about it, and the girls are really working hard for it,” he added.
“It’s a matter of pride and honor, getting the first gold for the Philippines.”
Boosting the Filipinas’ campaign in the SEA Games is their stint in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup last month, wherein they stayed in Level 1 of the competition following a victory over North Korea in their last game.
“Pre-tournament na namin iyon,” said Aquino. “Talagang they really want to get this gold now.”
Perlas Pilipinas opens their bid on Sunday evening against Singapore at 7:15 p.m. at MABA Stadium. They have very little time to recover after their first game, as they return to action at 8:15 p.m. the next day against Indonesia.
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