Gilas women seeking naturalized player, too

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Gilas women seeking naturalized player, too
The Gilas Pilipinas youth girls team in the FIBA U16 Women's Asian Championship in Amman, Jordan

MANILA, Philippines — The Gilas Pilipinas women's team are set to find their own naturalized player in anticipation for a busy schedule in 2023.

Following the footsteps of their male counterparts who have multiple naturalized players in their fold like Ange Kouame and Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson, head coach Pat Aquino said that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) have already given the green light for him to look for their own.

"Hopefully, I could find time and talk to Coach Cris [Gopez] na makakuha kami ng pwede natin i-naturalize." Aquino bared to media on Saturday.

"Kasi as of now, meron kami, nag-go signal na rin si President Al Panlilio and masayang masaya ako dun. Sabi niya kuha ka na ng naturalized [player] mo." he added.

The Gilas Pilipinas women's squad have been on the uptick in the past couple of years, highlighted by back-to-back gold medal campaigns in the Southeast Asian Games.

A naturalized player will ramp up their campaigns even more, with Aquino set to fly out to the US to scout for possible candidates in December.

"I was supposed to go to Australia [as well], meron din group dun pero hindi lang natuloy. Hopefully, pagbalik ko nalang. I'll try to see kung meron." said Aquino.

"And then yung Canada raw, papapuntahin nalang sa Chicago." he continued.

Aquino will also take time to talk to Fil-Am players already in the Gilas fold during his trip to the US where he is expected to spend the holidays.

"I'll be going around talking to the other players na like Gabi Bade, Stefanie Berberabe, sila Ella [Fajardo], what are their plans? Are they coming back? Am I hoping? Am I expecting you to be here?" Aquino said of his Gilas wards.

"Then I'll be talking to other players like you know, Kayla Padilla, Vanessa de Jesus, there's one in George Washington si Aurea Gingras, and then Mai Loni Henson also."

The Philippines is gunning for a strong performance in all their tournaments next year, including a historic three-peat in the SEA Games.

With a prospect of a naturalized player on the table, things can only go up for the Filipina ballers.



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