Members of Gilas Pilipinas Women are already hard at work in their training bubble in Batangas while they prepare for the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2021.
The Philippine national team led by head coach Pat Aquino will be one of eight teams in Division A seeing action in Amman, Jordan from September 27 to October 3. Gilas Pilipinas Women were grouped with Australia, China, and Chinese Taipei.
“The continued growth of women’s basketball in the country is one of the pillars of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas. And this is why the federation along with our partners will do everything we can to support our Gilas Pilipinas Women,” said SBP Special Assistant to the President Ryan Gregorio.
The team is currently staying at the JET Hotel. Meanwhile, their practices take place at the Summit Point Golf & Country Club, both in Lipa, Batangas.
Aquino formed a team with a good mix of veterans and youngsters who are all raring to represent the Philippines. Still present from the 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medal winning squad are Afril Bernardino, Chack Cabinbin, Khate Castillo, Clare Castro, Ria Nabalan, Janine Pontejos, Mar Prado, and Andrea Tongco.
They join Kristine Cayabyab, Karl Ann Pingol, Camille Clarin, and Ella Fajardo, who are debuting at the seniors level.
SBP Women in Basketball Ambassador Jack Danielle Animam won’t be able to join the team. She is currently in Serbia.
“It’s good that we can finally start working together,” said Aquino, who holds concurrent roles as head coach and SBP Program Director for Gilas Pilipinas Women. Assisting him are coaches Ramon Garcia, Julie Amos, and Mark Solano; with trainer Paolo Gorospe and physical therapist Rassel Urag.
“During these times, it’s a luxury to be able to focus on basketball and that’s why the team is thankful for this opportunity to practice in a safe environment. We’re thankful to General Manager Vic de Guzman, [and] Summit Point Golf & Country Club and Sales Manager Leonardo de Castro of JET Hotel for accommodating the team,” added Aquino.
“We have all the amenities we need, from the gym to the basketball court and even a pool, so we’re all excited to put in the work. We have not been together as a team for a while now, so this is a chance for us to rebuild our chemistry with each other.”
Gilas Pilipinas Women will be taking on China on September 27; Australia on September 28; and Chinese Taipei on September 29.
The top four teams from this competition will have the chance to qualify for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 in Australia.
“Under the leadership of SBP President Al Panlilio and our Program Director and head coach Pat Aquino, our Gilas Pilipinas Women have grown by leaps and bounds already. Competing in Division A is proof of that and so was the double gold medal haul in the last SEA Games,” said Butch Antonio, SBP Deputy Executive Director.
“The pandemic has presented a unique challenge, but the SBP is confident that our team will do the very best they can to represent the country in Jordan.”