Gilas Pilipinas Women’s Under-18 only had 11 players when they faced Thailand to open their campaign in Division B of the 2022 FIBA Asian Championship on Monday.
Leading the squad in the win was Point Loma Nazarene’s Kate Bobadilla, who had 22 points in the Philippines’ 65-50 win. Anchoring the defense, meanwhile, was ESB Villeneuve-d’Ascq Lille Metropole Louna Ozar, who tallied 11 rebounds, eight points, and three steals.
Also playing in the game were UC San Diego-commit Sumayah Sugapong, St. Thomas of Villanova’s Ryhanna Calvert, Fil-Canadian Kalynee Abraham, De La Salle Zobel’s Candice Udal, Rochester University’s Ashley Loon, and Westview’s Sydney Heyn.
But for the rest of the tournament, the Patrick Aquino-coached squad will only have 11 players.
This as after the eligibility meeting, it was concluded that both Bobadilla and the team’s 12th player Hope Manglal-lan of Sacred Heart School in Canada got their Philippine passports after the age of 16.
With this, both Bobadilla and Manglal-lan, despite being born to Filipino parents, were classified as ‘naturalized’ Filipinos by FIBA.
Aquino and his staff made the tough decision to field Bobadilla while Manglal-lan only watched.
Still, Gilas made sure to let Manglal-lan still be part of the team, including her in the photoshoots and letting her help out with the team’s activities.
Though saddened by what happened, the girls are going all out to get that Division A slot for the country and for Hope.