Filipina cager Janine Pontejos wins gold in FIBA 3x3 World Cup shoot-out

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Bocaue, Bulacan (CNN Philippines, June 12) — On the country's 120th Independence Day, Filipina cager Janine Pontejos bagged the Philippine's first gold medal in the senior's division after emerging as the best long-range shooter in the 2018 FIBA 3x3 World Cup.

The 25-year-old sharp-shooter scored 14 points in 41.86 seconds from beyond the two-point arc in the shoot-out contest.

It was a tight match between Pontejos and Russia's Alexandra Stolyar with 14 points apiece but Pontejos finished 8.6 seconds faster.

Stolyar bagged the silver medal followed by Croatia's Hrvoje Marin who finished with a bronze medal after tallying 11 points.

The former NCAA player earned a trip to the finals after scoring six 2-pointers in 22 seconds during the shoot-out qualifiers on Sunday.

For Pontejos, this was her second chance to bring pride to the country after the Philippine women's team bowed down early in the elimination round of the 3x3 World Cup, 0-4.

"Kahit natalo kami (sa 3x3 World Cup), hindi po ako nawalan ng pag-asa na itayo ang Pilipinas kasi may natitira pa pong shoot-out. Lumakas yung loob ko dahil sa mga teammates at coaches ko," she said.

[Translation: Even though our team lost in the 3x3 world cup, I didn't lose hope in raising the Philippines because I still had the shoot-out contest. I was filled with high spirits because of my teammates and coaches.]

Despite being pitted against top teams in the world, Pontejos humbled and challenged herself to her best outing to bring pride and recognition to the Philippines.

"Hindi ko po inisip na ako yung best. Pare-pareho lang po kaming player so kailangan makapag-compete ka rin talaga. Yung bansa natin yung nirerepresent natin so kailangan hindi ka talaga matakot sa kanila." she shared.

[Translation: I didn't think that I was the best. We are all players so I had to compete in order to level with them. I was representing the country so I had to be brave and fearless.]

READ: PH ends FIBA 3x3 World Cup campaign with rout of Russia

After her historical win, Pontejos beamed with Filipino pride as she bagged the country's first medal in the world cup.

"Sobrang proud na proud po ako na ako po yung nakakuha nito. Proud na proud ako na Pilipino ako at para sa Pilipinas ito."

[Translation: I am so proud that I was able to get the country's first medal. I am proud that I am Filipino and this is for the Philippines.]


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