SINGAPORE – The Philippine women’s basketball team is getting help in its 28th Southeast Asian Games campaign from no less than an NCAA Division 1 player.
Sofia Roman, an Ivy Leaguer from Dartmouth, joined the team just last March to fulfill her dream of playing for the national squad in the Singapore Games.
Born in the Philippines to Filipino parents but raised in the United States where the family migrated when she was four years old, the 21-year-old Roman said it has been her dream since high school to give back to her country.
“I just didn’t think it was this soon,” said Roman. “I felt like since I grew up in the States, it will be a good opportunity for me to just give back to my country.”
National women’s team coach Patrick Aquino said Roman is a great addition to the team that is seeking to finally win the gold in the biennial meet.
“She’s a point guard and she can shoot the ball. She also gives the extra hustle. She is contributing really well,” said Aquino.
Roman is joining a re-jigged Philippine women’s team that has found a new patron in Blackwater.
“It’s a great mix of girls,” Roman said. “We have some veterans in the team and we also have rookies with fresh legs. It’s just a mixture of knowledge and wisdom of the veterans, and the fresh legs and the enthusiasm that the rookies bring.”
Roman also admitted there is pressure to deliver as the Philippines tries to finally nail the gold after coming close to winning it in the 2011 edition of the meet.
“I’ve heard that we’ve come very close. I think it’s about time (to win the gold). There’s a lot of pressure on us to get the gold. But it’s really good pressure as long as we play as a team, we’ll do good,” said Roman.