Gilas women keen on long-term development after Women’s Asia Cup stint
MANILA, Philippines — The Gilas Pilipinas women’s team has set its sights in rolling out a continuous program development after completing its initial goal in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup coming off a long hiatus due to the pandemic.
Coach Pat Aquino said the Asia Cup, where Gilas maintained its rightful place in the Division A with a big 74-70 win over India, was a good restart of the program that has been stalled for almost two years by the world health crisis.
“We’ve been here for the last three editions of the FIBA Asia Cup. I think it’s just the pandemic that cut the program,” said Aquino, whose wards last saw international action in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“The program is growing and growing and hopefully, sponsors would come in and help us grow more. I think with that, we’ll be more competitive in the coming tournaments,” he added.
Gilas has been on the rise under Aquino’s watch as apart from its Asia Cup Level 1 status since 2015, it also participated in other continental jousts like the FIBA Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament and Women’s Jones Cup.
In the SEA Games, the Filipina ballers captured their first 5-on-5 title to complete a double-gold harvest after also ruling the inaugural 3×3 tilt only to be shelved by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid a long break, Gilas ushered in a big step in its program with a youth-laden squad led by US NCAA standout Ella Fajardo and Camille Clarin in the Asia Cup that fortunately paid off when it mattered the most.
With the guidance of veterans Afril Bernardino and Janine Pontejos, the Nationals asserted mastery of India and averted a near demotion to Division B.
“We just played our hearts out. That’s what we’re all about. We just want to compete and play our best all the time. That’s our goal,” he added as Gilas also gained lessons from losses against powerhouse teams China, Australia and Chinese Taipei.
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