Open tryouts set as PH women's basketball coach casts wider net for SEA Games team
National coach Patrick Aquino says his mandate from Philippine women's basketball team patron Dioceldo Sy is to conduct a wider search for talent.

AN open tryout has been scheduled by the coaching staff of the Philippine women’s basketball team in a bid to come up with the best possible roster for the coming Singapore Southeast Asian Games in June. 

National coach Patrick Aquino, who led the National University Bulldogs to the UAAP women’s basketball title, said all aspiring cagebelles are welcome to join the tryouts on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. at the SGS gym along Araneta Avenue in Quezon City.

Aquino said he has extended invitations to standouts from the UAAP, WNCAA and other leagues, but is holding the tryout to make sure every cager with potential is given a look.

Among those invited are the core members of the existing national teams from the Discovery Perlas Pilipinas led by Flor Mata, Ish Tiu and Mary Joy Galicia and including NU stars Efril Bernardino, Gemma Miranda and Shelly Gupilan.

“Actually we invited all of the players of NU rin, but we did not take for granted the other teams in the UAAP and WNCAA. Kasi we want to make the search bigger and wider,” he said.

“Syempre, if we just focus on the same names we see and watch sa UAAP o WNCAA, limitado lang ang ating talent identification. Gusto natin mabigyan ng chance ang lahat ng mga deserving to wear our Philippine flag,” said Aquino.

The former UP Maroons slotman bared that it has been the order of women’s national team patron Dioceldo Sy to conduct a wider search for talent. Sy was also the supporter of the Careline Pilipinas women’s team from 2009 to 2010.

“Yan din kasi gusto ni boss Dio kasi 'yan ang ginawa naming formula in coming up with a formidable lineup sa NU,” said Aquino. “Sa ngayon talaga walang shoo-in. You have to go through the tryouts to make it to the team.”

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Aquino said their primary mission is to finally emerge as champions of the SEA Games, which has long been dominated by Thailand and Malaysia.

“Actually, that’s a tall order for us. Kaso aasinta ka na lang ng target, itodo na natin. Kasi our men’s team has been the kings of SEA Games basketball, why can’t we make our women’s team be at par?” he said.

Aquino, a first-time national coach, bared that they have also scheduled tryouts in the coming weeks, but he added that Saturday’s event will be the biggest.

For those interested to try out, Aquino can be reached at 0917-868-6234.

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