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Gilas out to spring surprises in Women’s Asia Cup

GILAS Pilipinas will not troop to Australia only to play and participate in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.

Tired of mere participation, the Filipinas are out to spring surprises and make some noise as per the marching orders of head coach Pat Aquino for the regional showpiece on June 26 to July 3 in Sydney.

“We really have to wake up. We’ve been here for the longest time. We can’t just play here. We need to improve,” Mr. Aquino, also the concurrent program director, told The STAR ahead of the team’s departure this week.

Gilas, since its promotion in 2017, has been settling for seventh-place finishes in order to stay in the elite Division A featuring eight of the Asia’s best women teams.

The Nationals are bracketed in the stacked Group B with five-time champion Japan, host Australia and Chinese Taipei this time but Mr. Aquino is undeterred in a bid to reach new heights, especially with the event serving as a Paris Olympics qualifier.

“We have to come out and play our game and show them who we are and why we’re here. We were not there just to play,” he added, also mentioning their SEA Games’ silver medal finish as added motivation.

“Most of the time, iyun ang tendency. There’s always a chance if we play our game well and we play together, and who knows, we can make suprises.”

Gilas is leaving no stone unturned to achieve that goal with a series of tune-up games against UAAP juniors runner-up Adamson boys team and Azusa Pacific University from the United States before holding a week-long camp in Melbourne starting Saturday.

In Melbourne where Duke University ace Vanessa de Jesus will join the SEA Games’ Gilas core, the team will play two to three friendlies against Australian clubs before flying to Sydney. — John Bryan Ulanday

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