SBP Gilas women’s coach Pat Aquino, SBP Executive Director Erika Dy, Gilas U18 women’s coach Julie Amos, SBP media officer Virgil Villavicencio, and members of the Gilas U18 women’s team

Gilas PH gets early test in SEABA

May 22, 2024 People's Tonight 129 views

THE Gilas Pilipinas U18 women’s team will be tested right away as it faces host Thailand in a must-win opener of the SEABA U18 women’s tournament which kicks off on Friday in the province of Ratchaburi.

The 6 p.m. game (Manila time) against the Thais serves as the outright gold medal play as the two other participating teams in Malaysia and Indonesia have already qualified to the FIBA U18 Women’s Asia Cup Division A.

Winner between the Filipinas and the host country will qualify to the FIBA U18Women’s Asia Cup Division B next month in Shenzhen, China.

The team will be leaving for Thailand on Wednesday.

“Playing against the host country and against Thailand pa, talagang gulatan yan. Ang usapan namin lahat hindi namin sila padidikitin. As much as possible, we’ll dictate the tempo of the game from the first quarter until the fourth quarter,” said head coach Julie Amos of Gilas’ all-important game against the Thais on opening day.

Added Gilas Pilipinas women’s team coach Pat Aquino, “I’ve seen some of the names (Thai players), and yung iba sa kanila played previously sa (women’s) U16. That’s the only thing we’ve known about them. They’ve been very secretive din.”

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Executive Director Erika Dy accompanied Aquino and Amos in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday at the conference hall of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex together with the entire team led by captain Ava Fajardo.

Other members of the squad are Gabby Ramos, Naomi Panganiban, Alyssa Rodriguez, Jolzyne Impresso, Margaret Villanueva, Aubrey Lapasaran, Sophia Canindo, Ashley Abong, Tiffany Reyes, Venice Quinte, and Margarette Duenas.

“As a team, we’re going to play to the best of our ability, play with our hearts, and hopefully, we can come up with the sister of national team member Ella Fajardo, in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, MILO, Smart/PLDT, and the leading sports entertainment gateway in the Philippines ArenaPlus.

The team has been practicing twice a day as the tournament approaches, and played tune-up matches against the Gilas women’s national team, Adamson, Far Eastern University, National University, and the boys team of UP Integrated School.

After Thailand, the Pinay cagebelles will play Malaysia on the 25th and Indonesia on the 26th.

“We hope they will play well in Thailand. The federation is here to support them with what they need, and we would love for them to come back with the gold medal. But more importantly, I’m excited for them because I know they will come back as better Filipino citizens,” said Dy of the team, which Amos describes as very coachable, has a high basketball IQ, and is very committed.

“In terms of support, we would like to thank our usual supporters Smart, the MVP Foundation, and for this particular tournament, yung office po ni Sen. Pia Cayetano was a big help to the girls.”