By REYNALD MAGALLON
Despite suffering a humiliating 91-point loss to powerhouse China, Gilas Pilipinas Women head coach Pat Aquino remained optimistic that the exposure that his wards can get against the top Asian teams in the tournament will be beneficial for the women’s basketball program in the country.
Speaking in front of the press after the 143-52 loss against the world’s No. 7 ranked Chinese squad, Aquino stressed that the loss is part of the learning curve for the young Filipinas whose average age is only 23 years old.
“Everybody has to have a new start and I think the Philippines is just looking forward to the future of young Filipina ballers, we cannot just tell them it’s experience but the exposure that they’ll be getting here will be a lot greater for us in the future,” said Aquino.
The Filipina dribblers were only on their fourth stint in Division A of the tournament after getting the promotion in 2015.
According to Aquino, the continuous exposure to elite Asian teams could only help Gilas improve especially with the addition of young guns Ella Fajardo (18 years old), Kristine Cayabyab and Karl Ann Pingol (both 19), and Camille Clarin (20) to the current squad.
The Gilas cagebelles struggled against the taller and quicker Chinese team considering that it was their first game after an almost two-year lull.
“They struggled a little bit, it’s their first game, actually by the team in two years. A lot of struggles,” Aquino said about the game.
Afril Bernardino carried the offensive load for the team with 17 points and got little support from her teammates. Gilas will need more from her and the supporting crew if they wish to put up a better fight against world No. 3 Australia on Wednesday, 12 a.m. (Manila Time).
“Hopefully they get comfortable in the coming more games and show their wares why they’re here not just them but all of the players. I think the adjustment the systema dn again playinmg after two years this is what we get hopefully we improve more in the coming games,” said Aquino.