The Philippine Basketball Association had a special guest on Wednesday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
During the halftime break of the Ginebra San Miguel-Phoenix Super LPG clash, the league honored the 2022 AFF Women’s Championship champions Filipinas.
League commissioner Willie Marcial, Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua, and Phoenix Super LPG governor Atty. Raymond Zorilla gave the team an honorary trophy for their feat.
Team captain Hali Long; goalkeeper Inna Palacios; midfielders Katrina Guillou and Sara Eggesvik; and forwards Shai del Campo and Alyssa Ube represented the team.
Also in attendance for team manager and Tony Dela Cruz’s wife Belay Fernando, media head Ceres Lina, and PFF broadcast chief Cedelf Tupas.
“It’s great because it’s a different sport,” Del Campo said about being in the PBA. “Them cheering for us, it adds more motivation. You see the sport growing and it feels good that they are cheering for us.”
“Honestly, not at all. I still can’t believe or imagine that it has come to fruition. To now actually, live our goals, I can’t even articulate what I’m feeling right now. It was unbelievable,” added Guillou.
“It means everything to the Philippines. A lot of people before us worked a lot to get where we are right now,” expressed Long.
For Palacios, winning the AFF crown in Rizal was something special. She recalled that it was in the same venue where her alma mater La Salle won the UAAP Season 79 crown.
“In UAAP, you cheer for your school and the pride there is different. But when you hold the flag, it’s more than just playing. It’s for the country and everyone who saw you grow in the sport. That’s also where we got our first championship,” said Palacios.
The Filipinas have been everywhere since winning the crown last Sunday.
In fact, the team went to team booster Jefferson Cheng’s hometown in Davao last Tuesday. A trip which Eggesvik really enjoyed.
“That was so great and my family was so supportive. It was such a nice time going out. The support was amazing,” said Eggesvik
The Filipinas hope that the support they are getting won’t come to an end as it will inspire young dreamers to pursue the sport.
“I think it gives way for the next generation to dream more. Nabigyan sila ng something to look up to,” said Ube.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.