CASSY Tioseco hopes to make up for lost time as she rejoins the Philippine women’s basketball team for the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar this year.
The former star of the Ateneo Lady Eagles has returned to the national squad this year after retiring last year to join her family in Canada, where she worked for a time as a flight attendant.
Now Tioseco wants nothing more than to complete her unfinished business, having missed an opportunity to play in the 2011 SEA Games when she was hit by dengue fever days before the team left for Jakarta.
“I guess it’s for the second chance,” Tioseco said in an interview with Spin.ph during Wednesday’s send-off party for the SEAG-bound delegation hosted by Philippine Olympic Committee chief Peping Cojuangco.
“The last time in 2011, days before we left, nagka-dengue ako kaya hindi ako nakalaro. So may konting unfinished business.”
Tioseco distinguished herself as one of the finest women’s basketball players in the country when she played for Ateneo from 2003 to 2007, winning the MVP award in 2006 and 2007 and leading the Lady Eagles to the 2005 UAAP title.
Now one of the veterans of the Discovery Perlas Pilipinas squad, Tioseco likes the chances of this year’s team after falling just short of the gold medal in 2011.
“Siyempre, we are aiming for the gold after that silver in 2011. After that finish, there is no way to go but up. Positive kami,” Tioseco said.
Tioseco said the team will bank on its quickness to overcome its disadvantage in height.
“We are a lot smaller than most of our opponents in the SEA Games so we really do rely on our speed and quickness,” she said.
Defending champion Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia are expected to also figure in the fight for medals in this year’s SEA Games. One advantage for Perlas Pilipinas is that it has already seen the three teams in action during the Fiba-Asia Women’s Championship Level II in Bangkok recently.
Even though the team lost to Indonesia and Malaysia, Perlas Pilipinas defeated Thailand in the Asian level competition. Despite the setbacks in Fiba-Asia, Tioseco said the team will bounce back in the SEA Games.
“Every year, every team gets stronger. They made the necessary adjustments but we are also prepared. We have a good coaching staff,” said Tioseco.
Aside from Tioseco, also in the lineup are Angeli Gloriani, Cindy Resultay, Denise Tiu, Chovi Borja, Bernadette Mercado, Camille Sambile, Ewon Arayi, Melissa Jacob, Analyn Almazan, Joan Grajales, and Mary Joy Galicia. Haydee Ong is the head coach.