PAT Aquino believes Perlas Pilipinas' stint in the recent FIBA Asia Women's Cup would be a good warm up in its gold medal bid in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Filipina cagebelles arrives in the country on Monday from Bangalore, India where they successfully kept their spot in Level 1 of the FIBA Asia after beating North Korea, 78-63.
It was the lone win of the team in six outings, yet Aquino said the experience gained battling the likes of world powers Australia, China, South Korea, and three-time reigning champion Japan is invaluable.
He said playing against these giants is good enough to prepare the team as it vies in finally bagging the elusive gold in the SEA Games.
"Marami kaming natutunan sa mga kalaban namin. It's a good preparation for the SEA Games," Aquino told SPIN.ph.
Perlas kicks off its campaign on August 20 against Singapore, followed by Indonesia (21), Myanmar (22), and Thailand (23).
The team then caps off its preliminary campaign against Malaysia on the 24th and Vietnam on the 25th.
"Of course mabigat pa rin ang laban. We're not about to be overconfident," said Aquino, who steered the team to a fourth place finish in the last SEA Games in Singapore two years ago.
Aquino could only hope the Filipinas would have the same.mentality they did in the FIBA Asia Cup come the SEA Games set August 18 to 30.
"I'm proud of the girls for believing in themselves and not giving up. We learned so much from there," said the national coach.
He also took the opportunity to thank the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and long-time backer Dioceldo Sy of Ever Billena for their all-out support for Perlas Pilipinas.