PERLAS Pilipinas opens its Seaba Women’s Championship campaign against Singapore on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in Malacca, Malaysia.
It is the first tournament for the Filipina basketball players since last year when they made it to level 1 of the Fiba Asia Women’s Championship.
The Filipinas, however, had to make a last-minute lineup change.
Ewon Arayi, the longest-serving national team member, had to be replaced by Andrea Pontejos. Arayi has recovered from dengue and is with the team in Malaysia, but has not been given clearance to play by the doctor.
“Kaya ko na nga maglaro, kaso lang yung doctor namin sa Navy ayaw ako bigyan ng clearance. Gusto niyang magpahinga pa ako,” added Arayi.
Head coach Patrick Aquino arrived in Malaysia on Monday with Afril Bernardino and Jack Animam, two players from the National University Lady Bulldogs. The three were unable to join the Sunday trip as the NU played La Salle in the UAAP.
Bernardino was a former UAAP Most Valuable Player while Animam is NU’s starting center.
Aquino works as head mentor of NU and Perlas Pilipinas and the integration of training of these two squads had somehow helped our national team’s build up for the tournament.