Thai ace poses big threat to RP ladies
() - October 24, 2007 - 12:00am

How to stop this Thai player “who plays like a man” is the biggest headache of Fritz Gaston, head coach of the Philippine women’s basketball team.

“She really moves well and actually plays like a man. At one point, I even thought of asking officials to investigate if she just had a sex change,” said Gaston.

This Thai player, who wears jersey No. 5, did the most damage as Thailand whipped the Philippines last Saturday, 66-49, for the SEABA crown last Saturday in Phuket.

“She scored 36 points against Malaysia. She shoots very well, and if you come close to her, she drives hard. And she’s five-foot-ten. Parang lalake kumilos,” said Gaston.

Vicky Brick, the Fil-American sparkplug of the RP team, was so impressed with the Thai, saying, “If she was in the United States she would have been in the All-American team.”

“We have to prepare how to match up with the Thais, especially this No. 5,” said Gaston, who has exactly 43 days to find ways how to beat the Thais in the coming Southeast Asian Games.

“There’s no question. Thailand is the team to beat in the SEA Games. It’s really a strong team. But you cannot count Malaysia out, too,” said Gaston at the PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Ave.

Gaston, a former PBA player, came to the forum with players like Cassy Tioseco, Machico Matsuno, Diana Jose, Stephanie Villanueva and Merenciana Arayi.

The RP cagebelles led by skipper Emilia Vega won their first four matches in Phuket, including a close 76-72 decision over the Thais in the elimination.

But they fell short in the finals against the hosts, failing to control the Thais size and heft advantage.

At times, Gaston said his players felt they were up against a men’s team.

“That was our biggest disadvantage. We didn’t know how to beat Thailand’s men’s team,” he said in jest, referring to Thailand’s top player who “plays like a man.”

“But from now on we will do that, too. We will hold scrimmages with our men’s team. We have to find ways on how to match up with them,” said Gaston.

The RP women’s team was formed just over two months ago, and Gaston said the first month was even spent on tryouts.

“We have to learn how to become more explosive, quicker and stronger,” added Gaston, looking forward to the possible arrival of a couple more Fil-Ams in time for the SEA Games.

“If they come, we will have to re-evaluate things and talk it over because it will depend on the positions these new arrivals would be playing,” he said.

“But we’re ready to take them in. These players in the fold right now are so selfless that giving up some slots for the sake of the team wouldn’t be a problem,” he said.   – Abac Cordero

COUNTRY GASTON PLACE REGION
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