Gilas women in must-win situation vs Chinese Taipei
MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas women's squad fights for its dear life opposite a fellow hungry and winless Chinese Taipei team in the last preliminary playdate of the 2021 FIBA Women's Asia Cup at the Prince Hamza Hall in Amman, Jordan.
Motivated by two blowout losses to powerhouse teams Australia and China, the Filipinas vow an all-out fight to best its counterpart in a win-or-go-home duel at 12 a.m. (Manila time) for its last assignment in Group B action.
A victory would keep the Nationals alive through to the crossover playoffs while a loss would relegate them to a classification match against the bottom team from Group A.
For coach Pat Aquino, competing to live another day in the Asia Cup and to prepare for future tournaments at the same time remains the country's ultimate goal.
"We will try to improve every day, every game and we hope that we could be competitive in the future," said Aquino, who also serves as the national team program director.
"Having the girls play and getting experience against two tough teams, we like to move on, adjust and just compete. That's the main purpose here — compete," he added, tasking Afril Bernardino and Janine Pontejos to lead their attack anew.
After bowing to world No. 7 China by 91 points, 143-52, the 51st-ranked Gilas also succumbed to No. 3 Australia, 120-56, but it still reaped praises from the Opals mentor Paul Goriss.
Save for a glaring height handicap, Goriss said Gilas displayed smooth fundamental skills, quickness and shooting that somehow created problems for Australia in the first quarter, where they only led 32-20.
"I think the Philippines are a great team and they never give up. I think their fitness, how they play their style, they’re quick. How they play the game is really good,” Goriss said.
Gilas is hoping to translate glimpses of good stretches in previous games to an overall solid performance against Chinese Taipei, which is also raring for a win after losses to Australia, 76-65, and China, 124-50.
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