Perlas Pilipinas in high spirits as it goes for gold after missing podium two years ago
Perlas Pilipinas hopes to make a big jump from fourth to the top. Jaime Campos 

PERLAS Pilipinas team captain Raisa Palmera-Dy said the players are in high spirits ahead of the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur after their stint in the Fiba Asia Women's Cup.

The Philippine women's basketball team competed against Australia, Japan, and South Korea in Division A of the competition before finishing in seventh place after a win over North Korea.

Palmera-Dy said playing against world-class opponents was a big boost as the Filipinas go for a SEA Games medal after missing the podium two years ago in Singapore.

"World-class 'yung mga nakalaban namin sa Fiba Asia so magandang preparation for SEA Games dahil 'yung level talaga is world class," said Palmera-Dy. "May nakakalaban kami na WNBA players. At least going to the SEA Games, na-gain natin 'yung experience na 'yun na hindi na-experience ng ibang Southeast Asian teams."

[See Coach Pat Aquino feels Fiba Asia Women's Cup stint toughened up Perlas Pilipinas for SEAG]

Malaysia won gold two years ago, with Indonesia taking silver and Thailand the bronze.

Perlas Pilipinas also has Ara Abaca, Analyn Almazan, Jack Danielle Animam, Afril Bernardino, France Mae Cabinbin, Clare Castro, Raiza Rose Dy, Allana May Lim, Janine Pontejos, Cindy Resultay, Camille Sambile, and Marizze Andrea Tongco.

Palmera-Dy said Thailand and Malaysia will still be the teams to beat in the SEA Games women's basketball competition.

"I heard bumalik na 'yung mga beterano nila (Thailand) pero prepared naman tayo for that. Malaysia din nag-peprepare din. Tayo, hindi naman tayo papadaig sa kanila," said Palmera-Dy.

With the team's preparation starting in January, Palmera-Dy is confident the Philippines has what it takes to finally win the gold medal in women's basketball for the first time.

"Malaki ang chance na makuha namin 'yung gold. Pagtatrabahuan namin 'yun and sana makuha namin 'yung minimithi natin na matagal na, 'yung gold," Palmera-Dy said.

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