Perlas Pilipinas assembles best 3x3 team possible, but bracketed in 'Group of Death' in World Cup
Perlas Pilipinas coach Pat Aquino will turn to Jack Danielle Animam (third from right) and the rest of the national women's team in their bid to defy the odds in the tournament. Jerome Ascano

NATIONAL women’s basketball head coach Patrick Aquino said the Philippines has assembled the best available talent possible for the Fiba 3x3 World Cup.

Still, Aquino said the team faces a tough test when they go up against the best in the world as Perlas Pilipinas begin its campaign on Friday at the Philippine Arena.

The national team for the competition is composed of Jack Animam, Afril Bernardino, Gemma Miranda, and Janine Pontejos, who Aquino described as the best women’s basketball players of the Philippines today.

“I think they are the best in their era. Wala namang makakapagsabi na hindi,” said Aquino.

However, as to what the best talent the Philippines can offer is still the question as the country is bracketed in a tough Pool D with Hungary, Netherlands, Germany, and Spain.

“They are all tough teams. We are in the group of death in the women’s division. Netherlands is the number one (in the world), Spain is number one in Europe, and I think Germany is in the top five. I guess we just have to do well and prove ourselves that we belong,” Aquino said.

Perlas Pilipinas opens against Netherlands on Friday at 2:50 p.m., before taking on Germany at 6:40 p.m.

But Aquino expressed confidence Perlas Pilipinas can pull off surprises in the competition in front of home fans.

“The opponents are on a different level. The only advantage we have is that they haven’t seen us play. We will try to show how well we can play, show puso, and exceed expectations. Kaya natin maglaro. We want to show that we belong,” Aquino said.

Only two teams from each of the four groups will move to the quarterfinals.

“We are hoping that we can level up. With a bit of luck and puso, we will try to get the quarterfinal spot,” said Aquino.

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