WORK finally begins for Gilas Pilipinas Women as they fly to Amman, Jordan on Tuesday night for the 2021 Fiba Women's Asia Cup.
Gilas Women in 2021 Fiba Women's Asia Cup
Coach Pat Aquino and the rest of the national women's team are bracing for a tough road in the continental tilt where they are placed in Group B.
The Philippines first faces China on Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. (Manila time), before taking on Australia on Sept. 29 at 12 a.m., and Chinese Taipei on Sept. 30 at 12 a.m.
"We're taking it one day at a time, one practice at a time to better our chemistry and know the plays with our eyes closed,” said Aquino, who brought eight holdovers from the gold medal-winning team in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
SEA Games double gold medalists Afril Bernardino, Janine Pontejos, and Clare Castro lead the squad, where they will be joined by Andrea Tongco, Chack Cabinbin, Ria Nabalan, Khate Castillo, and Mar Prado.
Fairleigh Dickinson standout Ella Fajardo spearheads the new faces together with National University bets Camille Clarin, Kaye Ann Pingol, and Kristine Cayabyab.
It was a tough buildup for Gilas Women, who only had two weeks to prepare at the Summit Point Golf & Country Club in Lipa, Batangas.
Aquino, however, is optimistic that the crew was able to maximize its time to remain in the Division A of Fiba Asia.
"Even though we had limited time, we didn't take our court time for granted. Everything is game speed not only [to improve] conditioning-wise but also to be prepared for the competition to come," he said.
Only the top three teams in the group will progress to the crossover knockout rounds, where 2020 Tokyo Olympic silver medal winner Japan is seeking its fifth straight gold medal.
The highest the Philippine women's national basketball team has reached in the competition was at fourth place, doing so in the inaugural staging in Seoul in 1965 and in 1984 in Shanghai.
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