No pressure, expectations for Gilas women in FIBA Asia Cup

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
No pressure, expectations for Gilas women in FIBA Asia Cup
Gilas women coach Pat Aquino
Fil-Am Nation Select

MANILA, Philippines — The Gilas Pilipinas women's squad are saving themselves from any expectations and pressure heading into the 2021 FIBA Women's Asia Cup in Amman, Jordan.

With just two weeks of preparations under their belt, head coach Patrick Aquino keeps his projections tempered.

"I have no expectations for this tournament. I am just happy that my players have a chance to compete on the biggest stage again," said Aquino.

The Gilas women's squad last saw action in 2019, winning the country's first gold medal in women's basketball.

Despite their male counterparts getting to resume action sooner rather than later, the Filipina ballers needed to wait longer to get back into the fold of international competition.

Though later than he would've liked, Aquino says he and his wards are just grateful for the opportunity to get back on the basketball courts.

"At the end of the day, the opportunity to even play basketball is more than we hoped for so we are just going to go out there and do our best," said Aquino.

While the team isn't putting any pressure to deliver on any goals in the tournament set to unfurl on Monday, September 27, Aquino is sure of one thing — it'll do nothing but good for the program.

"Our situation is unique but it will help us in the long run," he said.

The squad left for Jordan on Tuesday evening after their training camp in Batangas. On Wednesday morning, they were already in Dubai for a layover before getting to Jordan.

Headlining the squad are veterans Afril Bernardino, Janine Pontejos, Clare Castro and Ria Nabalan.

Also in the fold are debuting Ella Fajardo, Camille Clarin, Ann Pingol and Kristine Cayabyab.

The Filipinas will play China, Australia and Chinese Taipei in the regional tournament.

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