Aquino: Gilas belles ready for SEAG wars
John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - July 31, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Gilas Pilipinas women squad sets its sight on finally copping the elusive gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games late this year following a productive William Jones Cup stint last week. 

Head coach Patrick Aquino bared the goal during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Amelie Hotel in Manila yesterday noon. 

“With an added international exposure and experience, I think we’ll be more ready and more prepared this time. We’ll be ready to get the gold now,” said Aquino who just arrived in the country late Monday night coming from Taipei. 

Aquino, also the long-time NU mentor in the UAAP,  and his Gilas Pilipinas women squad participated in the prestigious Asian invitational tourney for the first time as part of its long build up for the biennial sports conclave set Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. 

The Phl belles finished at the bottom of the six-team tilt without a single win in five games but Aquino reiterated that the experience and lessons they acquired weighed more than the record and would be beneficial for the women’s program in the long haul. 

“It’s our first time joining the Jones Cup. Despite not winning a game, we had experienced a lot and that would help us going into many more tournaments in the future. It’s a stepping stone to the future of Philippine women’s basketball, “ added Aquino in the weekly forum backed by PAGCOR, San Miguel Corp., and Braska Restaurant.

True enough, despite playing for only the first time as a complete unit with four new recruits in UCLA’s Kelli Hayes, George Washington’s Mei-Lyn Bautista, Arizona State’s Arnecia Hawkins and Sacramento State’s Elisha Bade, the Nationals stood their ground against tough rivals.

They lost by a big margin to New Zealand (72-106) but put up good fights in losing causes against South Korea (80-92), Chinese Taipei A (91-99), Chinese Taipei B (83-92) and even against champion Japan (82-85). 

That, alone, should give the Nationals a positive outlook heading to the SEAG as well as to the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup Division A this September in India. 

“We may be lacking chemistry for now but we’re much better in terms of look.We just have to be more prepared. It’s different when you have Fil-Am reinforcements. They just give a different atmosphere, a different look against our opponents,” added Aquino, referring to Hayes, Bade, Hawkins and Bautista. 

Only one from the said four Fil-Ams will be eligible to play in the FIBA Asia Cup where the Philippine women’s squad will go up against giants China, New Zealand and Australia. 

However, all of them will be allowed to play in SEAG, joining local mainstays Afril Bernardino, Jack Animam and Janine Pontejos in the country’s bid for a breakthrough gold medal finish in women’s basketball. 

“I hope we can deliver this coming November. We have been promising the gold for the past two editions. With the added experience of the girls, we’ll be tougher now,” concluded Aquino. 

Though it already bagged six silver medals, the Philippine women’s basketball team has yet to win a gold medal in the past 18 SEAG editions. It placed fourth in the 2017 joust held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with