Gilas belles eye upsets versus giants

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star
Gilas belles eye upsets versus giants
Pat Aquino
Philstar.com / Luisa Morales

MANILA, Philippines — The Gilas Pilipinas women’s squad is ready to go and will bank on fine chemistry despite a short preparation time in a bid to slay some giants in the 2021 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in Amman, Jordan beginning Monday.

“We have improved a lot. Our goal in the bubble was to get our rhythm back and build chemistry (and we achieved that),” coach Pat Aquino told The STAR ahead of their duels with powerhouse Australia, China and Chinese Taipei in the stacked Group B.

Aquino, who also serves as the national team program director, was referring to their limited yet productive bubble training at the Summit Point Golf and Country Club in Lipa, Batangas earlier this month.

That was the Nationals’ first assembly in almost two years since the 2019 Southeast Asian Games that the country hosted.

They arrived in Amman last Wednesday and have cleared quarantine protocols for one last full practice  before entering the event bubble today.

“The girls are ready to compete,” said Aquino as Gilas parades international 5-on-5 tourney debutants Ella Fajardo, Camille Clarin, Kristine Cayabyab and Karl Ann Pingol.

Seasoned anchor Jack Animam is out due to her Serbian pro league stint, but Aquino is counting on the leadership of eight other veterans led by captain Janine Pontejos and Afril Bernardino.

The Nationals plunge into action against China on Monday followed by matches against Australia and Chinese Taipei on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, to cap off their preliminary schedule.

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