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Long road to 2018 FIBA World Championship begins for Perlas Pilipinas



After a breakthrough in the recently-concluded 2015 FIBA Asia Women’s Championship, Perlas Pilipinas head coach Pat Aquino is gearing for a busy 2016 to prepare the Philippine women’s national basketball team for the next edition of the Asian championship and vie for a slot at the 2018 FIBA World Championship for Women in Spain.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Long road to 2018 FIBA World Championship begins for Perlas Pilipinas

Perlas completed a promotion to Level I of the FIBA Asia tournament after finishing with a 4-1 record in Level II action and besting India in the playoff game.

With such achievement, Aquino is looking at exposure for the ladies to keep the team in shape and have a continuous program while preparing for 2017.

“We talked about it while in Wuhan. Ang motivation ko is you be the starter of something big for womens basketball. I think we will start our preparations early. By next year, we will really voice out (our needs) and look for the right naturalized player if we can have one,” Aquino said.

The mentor also shared the possible trips for Perlas Pilipinas next year which includes a handful of tune-up games and tournaments.

“Just an early start, a continuous program next year. We will be going to Japan for a training camp and we will have SEABA probably in Manila. There is also a Jones Cup for women so we will be joining that. Before we left, CBA (teams) already invited us for a series of games there. That would be a good start,” he said.

With what the team has reached after all the years of putting in hard work, Aquino bared he has been receiving calls overseas from Fil-Ams who have signified intent to join Perlas in the future.

But Aquino is also open to finding a naturalization candidate, which Gilas did with Marcus Douthit and Andray Blatche in this decade.

“As of now we have many Fil-Ams who have been calling me and asking how to join or try out for the Perlas team. We are still looking for a possible (player) like what they did to Marcus Douthit who was a good fit for the team before,” he said, citing Level I competition is a different challenge for the squad.

“Level I competition is so high. They have WNBA players. They have 6-7 to 6-9 players. Height is really might,” Aquino added.

China, Japan, and Korea represented Asia in the last World Championship for Women in Turkey (2014), and being in Level I gives the Philippines a chance to advance to the World Championship stage.

Aquino knows with only six teams in Level I, the FIBA Asia Championship is technically the easiest way to make the World Championships and he shall start with the grueling task of forming the best team possible.

“I think it is really worth it to win and make Level I and sabi nga, sa FIBA Asia is the easiest way to go to the World (Championship) dahil three teams ang kukunin and there are six teams. Sabi nila we just need a big guy, and the talent is overflowing, so we will never know but it is a good start. Hope we prepare well and recruit well,” he said.

“In our group we are the smallest but we won. So that feeling is something positive and I will try to build on that. Hopefully we can build a good team to FIBA Asia 2017.”

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