MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas women head coach Pat Aquino will be looking to raise awareness on national team eligibility rules when he attends the US tryouts organized by Fil-Am Nation Select and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas later this week.
This as a lot of promising Fil-Am talents, like University of Washington alum Mai-Loni Henson and Duke University's Vanessa de Jesus, have yet to complete the necessary requirements to be able to play as a "local" for the women's national team.
"Most of our invitees, they don't have papers yet," Aquino said in Filipino.
"We'll try to explain how the process works, and if they need our help they can let us know," he added.
Aiming to educate prospects and their family members on getting started on the necessary documents early, the Gilas women program will encounter less problems on FIBA's stringent eligibility rules.
Per FIBA, if prospects with dual citizenship miss out on getting a passport for the country they wish to represent by the age of 16, they will only be able to play as a naturalized player in federation sanctioned events.
A rule which has forced talents like Henson and de Jesus to only be eligible for non-FIBA events like the Southeast Asian Games, and the Jones Cup.
Come June 4 and 5 (June 5 and 6 in Manila), Aquino is expected to make his case to the 25 players invited to offer the opportunity of wearing a Gilas Pilipinas jersey.
"If they are invited, they should come so I could talk to them and explain to them what's happening, what's our plans, and just get them excited," said Aquino.
Joining Henson and de Jesus in the invitees is NAIA MVP Stefanie Berberabe.
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