Gilas women set sights on 2022 Asian Games
MANILA, Philippines – The Gilas Pilipinas women’s squad is determined to book a maiden slot in the 2022 Asian Games for a sweet cherry on top of its jam-packed schedule next year after the FIBA Women’s World Cup pre-qualifiers and the Southeast Asian Games.
With an all-out support of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), coach Pat Aquino said securing spot in the Asiad for the first time as their next target would be a major boost in the rising national women’s program after staying in the Division A of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.
Gilas has been in the elite Asia Cup Level 1 since 2015 featuring the top eight squads in the continent but it is yet to see action in Asia's quadrennial multi-sport conclave.
“We’re hoping to make it this time. I think we deserve to be included (being also in the Asia Cup Level 1). It would be a great honor representing the country in the Asiad,” Aquino said in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum Tuesday.
But first thing’s first for Aquino and his wards with an immediate business of retaining the SEA Games title in Vietnam in May and performing strong in the World Cup qualifiers in February.
“The first criteria (to make it to Asiad) is to win gold in the SEA Games,” he added before thinking of the continental tilt scheduled in September in China.
Aquino is expected to sit down with SBP led by president Al Panlilio to discuss the plans for the said tournaments after his quarantine from their Asia Cup stint in Amman, Jordan earlier this month.
Seasoned anchor Jack Animam and Filipina-American prospect Mai-Loni Henson are expected to be available next year to reinforce the Nationals led by skipper Janine Pontejos, Afril Bernardino, Camille Clarin and Ella Fajardo.
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