Gilas Pilipinas Women left the country on Tuesday evening, heading to Amman, Jordan for the 2021 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup Division A competition set from September 27 to October 3.
The team will have a stopover in Dubai before flying to Jordan.
But even before heading to the competition, the Philippine Women’s National Basketball Team experienced a lot of challenges that they had to overcome just to get to train.
And it only made the team closer and much stronger.
“Each and every day was a challenge — from the swabbing to the team practices but we need to prioritize our health,” said Gilas Women head coach Patrick Aquino. “Our mental toughness was also tested during our camp but I feel like that will help us compete against the continent’s best teams. We have to take advantage of every opportunity we get to be on the court.
“Our situation is unique but it will help us in the long run.”
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas was able to gain clearance from the Batangas local government unit to hold camp there early this month. The team stayed in JET Hotel while holding practice at the Summit Point Golf & Country Club.
Early in the camp, Gilas Women’s practices were on and off as Typhoon Jolina ravaged the country. But when the weather conditions cleared, it was all business for Gilas.
Composing Gilas Women are veterans Afril Bernardino, Janine Pontejos, Clare Castro, Andrea Tongco, Chack Cabinbin, Khate Castillo, Ria Nabalan, and Mar Prado.
Making their seniors team debuts are Ella Fajardo, Camille Clarin, Ann Pingol, and Kristine Cayabyab.
The competition will be tough in Amman as Gilas will face world no. 7 China on September 27 followed by no. 3 Australia on the 28th and no. 34 Chinese-Taipei the next day.
The last-placed team in the group will take on the bottom squad of the other group in a relegation match.
“I have no expectations for this tournament, I am just happy that my players have a chance to compete on the biggest stage once again,” expressed Aquino, who will have Julie Amos, Jose Ramon Garcia, and Paolo Gorospe as assistant coaches.
“At the end of the day, the opportunity to even play basketball is more than we hoped for so we are just going to go out there and do our best.”
Also joining the team in Amman are team doctor Jessie Lazaro, physical therapist Rassel Urag, and utility Leonardo Felisilda.
Grateful is Aquino and his team to the SBP for giving them everything they needed for this competition.
“Special thank you to SBP, especially to President Al Panlilio, Coach Ryan Gregorio, and Sir Butch Antonio, for their support, prayers, and best intentions for our girls to have the best experience,” expressed Aquino. “I also thank all those who made the camp possible such as Summit Point Golf and Country Club, GM Vic De Guzman, and JET Hotel.
“Your support will never go unnoticed!”