Castro faces tall order for Gilas

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Clare Castro is locked and loaded for the tall order of anchoring the undersized Gilas Pilipinas women’s team in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup starting tomorrow in Amman, Jordan.

Castro said it’s a huge responsibility filling in for veteran Jack Animam but she’s embracing the challenge against the taller opposition from Australia, China and Chinese Taipei in Group B.

“Of course, there’s pressure because I am the only big player in our team but I will do my best to contribute and play my role,” said the 6-foot-4 stalwart from FEU.

Animam, the 6-foot-5 Gilas anchor, is unavailable for the Asia Cup due to her Serbian pro league stint with Radnicki Kragujevac.

Castro and Animam provided the inside presence for the country’s double-gold medal harvest in the 3x3 and 5-on-5 events of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Coach Pat Aquino said it’s time for Castro to rise to the occasion with the perimeter coverage of hot-shooting guards Ella Fajardo, Afril Bernardino and skipper Janine Pontejos.

“This is a chance for players like Castro (and Karl Ann Pingol) to step up and fill the role of Jack,” he said.

Gilas opens its campaign against China tomorrow.

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