Gilas The Gilas Pilipinas U18 team arrives to a hero’s welcome.

Gilas sweeps FIBA Asia Cup SEABA qualifiers

June 1, 2024 People's Tonight 216 views

BY sweeping the FIBA Under-18 Women’s Asia Cup SEABA Qualifiers recently, the Gilas Pilipinas U18 team took the first steps needed to regain Division A status.

Next comes the big leap.

Putting on a masterful performance in Ratchaburi, the Philippine squad, coached by Julie Amos, swept the four-team field, routing host Thailand 103-58, Malaysia 100-68, and Indonesia 73-37.

“Winning it all in SEABA means a lot to us,” said Amos. “We really wanted to qualify to the FIBA Asia Division B, and for us to be there we have to win against the host country Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.”

She added: “We knew it’s a longer journey and it’s a big task. The focus and determination to compete was there from Day 1 of training.”

Amos said every game was treated like a final.

“We prepared every game with a championship game mentality. They worked hard together and played like a solid team in every game. I think that’s one reason why the girls enjoyed playing together because everybody is willing to sacrifice for each other.”

Asked if the Gilas Women are prepared for what lies ahead in China, Amos said, “We were able to get that momentum and confidence needed to play in FIBA. Mission is not done yet. We will not stop preparing. More so, we will embrace hard work and hopefully get it going until we make it to the top in Division B and qualify to Division A.”

Ava Fajardo, one of Gilas Women’s top gunner, said the team cherished its triumph and was driven by a single purpose.

“Our success in the Thailand FIBA Qualifiers means a lot to us, in showing that this team has big potential at making a great run in the FIBA Asian Championships coming up in China,” Fajardo said.

“We were able to bond, play together as a unit and show the Philippine brand of basketball. We want to take this momentum and extend our success into dominating Division B and get that promotion to U18 Division A.

“It was an impressive run by the girls showing what they are capable of,” said Gilas Women coach and U18 consultant Patrick Aquino.

“But definitely [we have] a long way to go. I told them that this is just the start and we have to focus on the next big thing which is to move from Division B to Division A this coming June for the Fiba Asia Cup in China.”

Division A in the U18 category boasts off the best eight teams in Asia, said Aquino, who steered the Philippine Youth team to the Division A back in 2010.

The 49th-ranked Philippines is bracketed in Group B with No. 86 Lebanon, No. 51 Syria and No. 96 Maldives. Group A has No. 66 Iran, No. 48 Samoa, No. 73 Hong Kong and No. 100 Kyrgyzstan.

Gilas takes on Maldives on June 24, Lebanon on June 25 and Syria on June 26.

A rest day has been scheduled for June 27, with the classification and qualification, semifinals and the final phase set June 28 to 30.

The Gilas Pilipinas women’s U18 basketball team arrives to a hero’s welcome.