Up soon: Gilas women naturalized player

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — It’s the turn of Gilas Pilipinas women to search and select its own naturalized player for future international tournaments.

No less than Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio, according to program director and head coach Pat Aquino, has given the greenlight on the search to start the process for the further improvement of the rising Filipina ballers.

“Nag-go signal na si President Al. At masayang-masaya ako doon. Sabi niya ‘kuha ka na rin ng naturalized player mo.’ Nag-thank you ako,” beamed Pat Aquino at the sidelines of the UP-Ateneo duel in UAAP Season 85 at the Big Dome Saturday.

The development for Gilas women comes in the middle of the Justin Brownlee naturalization process in Congress as Gilas Pilipinas braces for a loaded 2023 playing calendar.

Gilas women, likewise, is in line for a busy year with stints in the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup, Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and FIBA Asia Cup.

Aquino, with the help of Fil-Am Nation Select founder and Gilas assistant coach Cris Gopez who’s based in the United States, will start his hunt for naturalized player prospect next month.

His trip will include reconnecting with the Filipino-foreign players who have debuted in different stints this year.

Aquino is reassembling them for the Gilas’ three-peat bid in the 2023 Cambodia SEA Games.

Gilas women, which will also welcome back veteran anchor Jack Animam from an ACL injury, successfully defended its SEA Games crown in Hanoi earlier this year.


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