Gilas Pilipinas Women returns from almost a two-year lull on Monday, Sept. 27, when it takes on China in the start of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup at the Prince Hamza Hall in Amman, Jordan.
The Philippines plays China in their Group B match at 4 p.m. local time (9 p.m. Philippine time) as the female dribblers will see action for the first time since winning the gold in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
But unlike that golden feat, coach Pat Aquino won’t be having his star player Jack Animam but will have new faces in the fold like Ella Fajardo and Camille Clarin.
Veterans Afril Bernardino and Janine Pontejos will also be trusted in the week-long tournament which puts Gilas in a series of tough assignments.
Gilas is also slated to face Australia and Taiwan in Group B of the biennial tournament.
Under tournament rules, the top teams in both groups gain outright slots in the semifinals while the second and third place squads meet in a crossover playoffs.
The bottom teams, on the other hand, meet in a one-game match for seventh place. The loser, however, will not be relegated to Division B unlike in previous editions.
The Philippines placed seventh two years ago in Bangalore, India in a campaign that also saw them lose 104-57 to China in the group stage.
Listed in China’s roster is 6-foot-9 Han Xu, who had 10 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks against Gilas.