Gilas women coach hopes for easing of FIBAâs passport rule
Gilas Pilipinas Women coach Pat Aquino during the 30th Southeast Asian Games Morales
Gilas women coach hopes for easing of FIBA’s passport rule
John Bryan Ulanday ( - September 18, 2020 - 3:09pm

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas women head coach Pat Aquino is hoping for the relaxation of strict FIBA Hagop ruling as the country continues to discover overseas talents having Philippine roots for a potential national team boost.

One of those great Gilas finds is Duke University guard Vanessa De Jesus, who unfortunately can’t don national colors in any 5-on-5 FIBA-sanctioned events despite being born to both Filipino parents from Boracay and Pangasinan.

The strict FIBA rule requires players to secure a passport before turning 16 to play as a local, which is applicable to the 18-year-old De Jesus and other overseas-raised Filipina talents.

“I hope that the rule should be changed and we are hoping that FIBA reconsiders that rule. It will definitely help us compete in their level,” he said.

“As a matter of fact, all of the Fil-Ams we have been getting to play should be eligible to play for the Philippines because their background came from the Philippines. Their parents were born here. Their lineage are so rightful that they want to represent the country as well.”

Like De Jesus, other Filipina discoveries who can’t suit up in FIBA events include Elisha Bade from Sacramento State, Arizona State’s Arnecia Hawkins and George Washington’s Mei-Lyn Bautista.

They, however, are eligible for FIBA 3x3 events as well as the Asian Games, Jones Cup and the Southeast Asian Games much to the delight of Aquino as the Nationals look to further bolster their program in years to come.

“I think it’s not just a good opportunity for Fil-Ams like Vanessa, but also for our country. This would put in line a great opportunity for other Filipinas to play abroad,” added Aquino, who anchored Gilas to double-gold medal harvest in the SEAG last year.

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