Gilas women’s team ready for Asia Cup

Published September 8, 2021, 6:45 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Gilas Pilipinas women’s team during practice session at the Summit Point Golf & Country Club in Lipa, Batangas. (SBP Images)

The Gilas Pilipinas women’s team is now on the final stage of preparation in a training bubble in Batangas in time for the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2021 scheduled Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 in Amman, Jordan.

Led by coach Pat Aquino, the national team is in Group A with Australia, China and Chinese Taipei.

“The continued growth of women’s basketball in the country is one of the pillars of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and this is why the federation along with our partners will do everything we can to support our Gilas Pilipinas women,” said SBP Special Assistant to the President Ryan Gregorio.

The team is currently staying at the JET Hotel while their practices are held at the Summit Point Golf & Country Club, both in Lipa, Batangas.

Aquino, who has mentored the women’s team in the last 10 years, has formed a good mix of veterans and young players who are all determined to represent the country.

Part of the roster are members of the gold medal winning team during the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, including Afril Bernardino, Chack Cabinbin, Khate Castillo, Clare Castro, Ria Nabalan, Janine Pontejos, Mar Prado and Andrea Tongco.

They are joined by youngsters Kristin Cayabyab, Karl Ann Pingol, Camille Clarin and Ella Fajardo.

SBP Women in Basketball Ambassador Jack Danielle Animam won’t be able to join the team as she is currently in Serbia.

“It’s good that we can finally start working together,” said Aquino who holds concurrent roles as head coach and SBP Program Director for Gilas Pilipinas Women.

Aquino will have Ramon Garcia, Julie Amos and Mark Solano as part of the Gilas coaching staff, together with trainer Paolo Gorospe and physical therapist Rassel Urag in Jordan.

The national team will face China on Sept. 27, Australia on Sept. 28, and Taipei on Sept. 29. The top four teams in the Asian Cup will have the chance to qualify for the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Australia.

“Under the leadership of SBP President Al Panlilio and our Program Director and head coach Pat Aquino, our Gilas Pilipinas Women have grown by leaps and bounds already,” said SBP Deputy Executive Director Butch Antonio.

“Competing in Division A is proof of that and so was the double gold-medal haul in the last SEA Games The pandemic has presented a unique challenge but the SBP is confident that our team will do the very best they can to represent the country in Jordan.”