by Waylon Galvez
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio commended Tuesday the campaign of the Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 women’s team after its impressive showing in the recently concluded FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup Sunday in Changsha, China.
Though it was the first time for the women’s team to see action in the said tournament, the squad made a strong showing after making it to the main draw and all the way to the quarterfinal stage.
In was in the Final 8, however, that the team’s campaign ended as the four-man roster of Jack Danielle Animam, Afril Bernardino Janine Pontejos and Clare Castro suffered a tough loss to Australia, 21-16, last Sunday.
“The SBP is pleased with the quarterfinal finish of our Gilas Pilipinas 3×3,” said Panlilio in a statement.
“The way they competed all throughout the tournament was a tribute to the indomitable fighting spirit of Filipinos,” added the SBP chief.
The women’s squad topped Pool A of the qualifying draw with victories against Chinese Taipei (16-13) and Samoa (21-1) last Wednesday, and opposite Vanuatu (22-5) last Thursday.
During the pool play, the Philippine split its matches in Pool C as it lost to a Japan, 20-8, then came back with a 21-6 triumph against Sri Lanka last Friday to advance in the knockout round.
With the quarterfinal stint, the women’s team earned points for the Philippines in 3×3 action in hopes to make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Panlilio said the SBP will continue with its 3×3 programs.
“With the support of our sponsors, Smart Communications, San Miguel Corporation and Ever Bilena, we are determined to improve in the women’s division and one day become a superpower in our region #parasabayan,” he said.
The same men’s squad, led by collegiate stalwart Ricci Rivero, finished with a 2-2 card in the qualifying draw and second overall behind Qatar. The team won against Iran and Samoa, but lost to Qatar and Thailand.