It was just her very first stint with Gilas Pilipinas Women, but it was a historic one for Mar Prado.
Coming in as a replacement for Gemma Miranda, who suffered an ACL injury, the Adamson star’s national team debut was highlighted with a gold medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Prado and this particular batch of Filipina cagers, with coach Pat Aquino as coach, will go down in history for giving the Philippines its first-ever gold in SEA Games women’s basketball.
The do-it-all forward feels extremely blessed that her first time playing for flag and country turned out to be so special.
“Sobrang saya na first medal, na first time ko rin nakasali dito sa SEA Games,” said the 24-year-old Prado moments after the awarding ceremony witnessed by thousands at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“‘Yung kaba and saya na hindi masabi. Halo-halo. Blessed ako kasi nanalo kami ng first gold sa SEA Games.”
The experience became more memorable for her and the Gilas Women since they shared the podium with their male counterparts, who won the country’s 13th straight title.
“Siyempre ang saya po na nakasama namin ‘yung Men’s Gilas na gold medalist din. Sobrang saya po. Hindi po masukat kung gaano kasaya ang Gilas Women ngayon,” the native of San Carlos, Pangasinan expressed.
Prado admitted that it was nerve-wracking to play on the international stage for the first time in her career, but the soft-spoken cager did not let that get in her way.
“Kabado ako pero iniisip ko lang na para sa bayan, para sa mga taga-support ng Pilipinas. Kaya ginagawa ko ‘yung best ko, at ginagawa ng mga ate ko ‘yung best nila,” she said.
Now that she knows how it feels to play for the Nationals, the UAAP Season 82 Mythical Team member said that that exposure will help once she returns to the Lady Falcons.
“Pagdating sa UAAP, madadala ko po ito. May experience na po ako dito kasama ‘yung RP team.”