Dealing with tall odds in Olympic qualifier, Gilas ladies out to guard top-flight standing


Jack Animam (No. 75) will anchor the squad that will compete in Sydney.

Jack Animam (No. 75) will anchor the squad that may compete in Sydney. —DENISON REY A. DALUPANG

Simply earlier than dismissing his costs, Gilas Pilipinas ladies’s head coach Patrick Aquino known as for a huddle.

It wasn’t the standard sort the place he heaps praises on a participant after which presents factors of enchancment for one more. On this one, on a sizzling steamy Monday afternoon at Aero Middle basketball gymnasium in Quezon Metropolis, he reached for reminders.

“I used to be telling them how arduous it was going out of a sure stage,” he instructed the Inquirer.

“We don’t wish to be in that scenario once more the place we needed to begin from [Division B] once more. It was so arduous getting as much as [this level]. You needed to undergo so many video games and be on the high of a division after which battle out once more to [stay there].”

Gilas Pilipinas is about to play in Division A of the Fiba (Worldwide Basketball Federation) Ladies’s Asia Cup subsequent month in Sydney, Australia, the place it battles the continent’s most interesting groups for one of many 4 spots within the Paris Olympic Video games.

But when the workforce’s latest outing within the Southeast Asian Video games in Cambodia was some form of a sign, the Philippines could possibly be going through tall odds within the event which will get going June 26.

Perilous route

Gilas’ lone loss within the biennial meet was towards eventual champion Indonesia, which doesn’t even play in Fiba’s high division.

Making the Philippines’ group section route much more perilous is a litter of heavyweights: Six-time winner and defending champion Japan, a perennial podium finisher Chinese language-Taipei and world energy Australia.

“I requested them to recollect the instances once we fought arduous [to get to Division A] as a result of that’s the one angle we’ll want. ‘To get higher. Get even higher.” Aquino stated, referring to the Philippines’ top-flight standing it earned eight years in the past.

Gilas has to play to point out that it belongs, in keeping with the concurrent program director. Particularly now with second-tier groups now changing into even higher.

“We’ve been there for such a very long time already and I believe we have now to be on the identical stage because the groups competing there. We should be up there,” Aquino stated.

“I don’t need us getting blended up with Indonesia and all these different groups. Like Jordan, which has a WNBA participant. Kazakhstan, which has all the time been tall. Malaysia which has all the time been [lurking]. Then there’s additionally Thailand raring to return again.”

Twice-a-day periods

The Gilas mind belief plans to make use of the identical roster it utilized in Phnom Penh, but it surely intends to make some tweaks to accommodate Duke starter Vanessa de Jesus, who just lately turned eligible to function a naturalized participant.

Additionally set to banner the squad is Jack Danielle Animam, who instructed the Inquirer she is dedicated to enjoying for Gilas till the Asian Video games in China this September earlier than getting again on her quest to crack the WNBA.

Gilas will proceed coaching and sprucing its sport at Aero earlier than cranking issues up with twice-a-day periods till they fly out for Sydney.

“All of the issues we must do in Cambodia, we have to do much more [now],” stated Aquino.

“We aren’t going there to only cling round and attempt to win, hopefully, within the final sport,” he added. “We should be ready.”

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