THE longtime backer of women’s basketball in the country felt disappointed the national team wasn’t made a part of the Philippine contingent to the coming Asian Games.
And to think Perlas Pilipinas has been promoted to Level 1 of the FIBA Asia Women’s Championships as early as last year.
Patron Dioceldo Sy, whose Ever Bilena Cosmetics Inc., has been supporting the women’s national cage team’s campaign for three years now, was saddened by the decision of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) not to include Perlas in the list of Filipino athletes set to wage war in the cities of Jakarta and Indonesia for the August 18 to September 2 Asiad.
Sy understands the criteria put up by both the PSC and POC giving weight to the gold and silver medal winners in the last Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as among those who made the grade for the Asiad.
But without naming names, he was also saddened to hear that there are those which failed to meet the Asiad standard but still made it to the official list of the Philippine delegation headed by Chef de Mission Richard Gomez.
Perlas finished fourth place during the Malaysian SEA Games in 2017.
Sy said he’s not out to compare women’s basketball with other sports, but believes the team has a good chance of competing for a medal in the quadrennial meet despite falling short again of winning a breakthrough gold medal in the SEAG.
“We’ve proven we can compete with the best in Asia after being promoted in Level I of the FIBA Asian Championships and maintaining our position since then,” Sy said.
The Level 1 promotion was the first ever in Philippine women’s basketball history where the team is bracketed among some of the world’s top powers such as Japan, South Korea, China, Chinese Taipei, and perennial SEA Games rival Thailand.
“It’s OK if the criteria was strictly followed,” said Sy. “But kung may mga nakalusot namang iba, then I would say na dapat i-consider din nila what women’s basketball has done the past three years.”
Another bright spot for Perlas is the presence of Janine Pontejos, who bested some of the world’s top gunners to emerge the best shooter in the recent FIBA 3x3 World Cup held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Unfortunately, the deadline for the submission of number by entries to the Asiad Organizing Committee has already lapsed last month.
The Blackwater team owner said an Asiad stint would have also been a perfect avenue for Perlas to play in a high-level competition considering the lack of women’s tournament both in the region and in the world.
“How can women’s basketball improve if they would not let us join,” said Sy. “What can I do to help if there’s no tournament to join?”