Perlas Pilipinas draws two-time champion Japan as opening day opponent in FIBA Asia Women's Cup

PERLAS Pilipinas has drawn two-time reigning champion Japan as opening day opponent in the Fiba Asia Womens Cup in Bangalore, India.

After taking on Japan, the Philippine team featuring Allana Lim, Afril Bernardino, Raisa Palmera-Dy, Camille Sambile, Claire Castro will face Australia and South Korea in the tournament set July 23 to 29.

Also in the team are Jack Animam, Gemma Miranda, Andrea Tongco, Chack Cabinbin, Janine Pontejos, Cindy Resultay and Amby Almazan.

Head coach Pat Aquino said being pitted against the top teams in Asia and Oceania is a great opportunity for the women's squad to be exposed to high-quality basketball competition before they play in the Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games in August.

Aquino is confident the Perlas squad can pull off a victory, noting that it won over North Korea in the 2015 edition.

"Magandang kalaban for us. It won't be a tune-up game but it will be a good tournament for us in the SEA Games ... I just don't want that to happen (tambakan)," said Aquino during Tuesday's Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

The players are also excited to show their wares against world-class opponents.

"Excited ako para sa women's team," said Palmera-Dy.

"Since wala kaming professional league, eto 'yung highest level na puwedeng marating ng women's basketball. Personally, I'm very excited na makaharap 'yung world's best at Asia's best."

The other group is composed of New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, North Korea and China.

The Fiba Asia Women's Cup is also a qualifier for the 2018 Fiba Women's Cup, with four spots at stake.

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