Ex-SMB practice player-turned-coach helps build Gilas women's program
Ricky Magallanes (R) with Gilas women coach Patrick Aquino in 2020
Instagram/Ricky Magallanes

Ex-SMB practice player-turned-coach helps build Gilas women's program

Luisa Morales (Philstar.com) - January 27, 2021 - 11:42am

MANILA, Philippines — The future is bright for the Gilas Pilipinas women's basketball program, with a great pool of talent to choose from now and in the foreseeable future.

Apart from the immense amount of local talent, Gilas Pilipinas women's head coach Patrick Aquino has been spending his time in the US even amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to reach out to possible prospects and building connections with key basketball figures.

One of the relationships Aquino has been fostering as of late is that of his friendship with US-based Pinoy high school coach Ricky Magallanes.

Magallanes, a former San Miguel Beermen reserve, is a coach in Bishop Ireton High School, a Roman Catholic school in Alexandria, Virginia.

The school participates in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, which is considered as one of the toughest High School conferences in the States.

Though it is his own project in Edge Basketball, an after school basketball program, that has been instrumental to Aquino's scouting activities in the East Coast.

Speaking to Philstar.com, Magallanes talked about the recent showcase his outfit did for the national team coach.

"Basically we got 11 to 12 girls, most of them mga bata. They're like 14 or 15 years old," Magallanes narrated.

"Coach Patrick was so happy kasi unang una ang goal niya is awareness para sa mga parents dito regarding sa FIBA rules [on eligibility]," he continued.

Magallanes' efforts, with his West Coast partner in Cris Gopez's Fil-Am Nation Select, are making sure that there is enough talent to go around as the Philippines continues to rise up internationally in women's basketball.

"They're young... I think para sa kanya (Aquino) it was like they (the kids) had potential, it's good for the future kapag tuloy tuloy yung training nila," Magallanes said.

"Some of them didn't really know who Coach Pat was... [but] I guess, most of them went to the internet and did some research. On the first three days, it seems like there was no excitement, but when we started to ask and call parents and kids personally, ayun na. They were so excited," he added.

Aquino has been in the US since December and attended numerous basketball showcases, including Magallanes', to scout future talent for the national team.

The decorated head coach, who led the Gilas Pilipinas women's squad to its first Southeast Asian Games gold medal back in 2019, is expected to attend one more showcase in the West Coast before flying home to the Philippines.

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