No rest for Gilas Girls

Sumayah Sugapong and Gilas Pilipinas Girls are bracing for tough battles in the knockout stage of the 2022 FIBA U18 Women’s Asian Championship. | Photograph courtesy of FIBA

Gilas Pilipinas Girls will not be slacking off despite booking an automatic semifinal spot in the 2022 FIBA U18 Women’s Asian Championship Division B.

Gilas Girls head coach Patrick Aquino said they will use their two days of rest to practice in preparation for the knockout stage of this tourney that dangles slots for Division A.

He added that they want to redeem themselves from their bronze medal finish in the 2022 FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship Division B in Jordan last June.

“We can’t be satisfied by just getting those last three wins. When you get to this position, you really have to be ready and start focusing more on what we’re supposed to do together again,” Aquino said.

“It’s very important since you’re one of the semifinalists. It’s an advantage that you’ll be able to take some rest but the thing is, it’s a different level so we have to be on top of it and, hopefully, we can perform well because this happened to us in U16 last June. We got to the semis but things happened. We have to really play hard and stick together.”

Gilas Girls opened their campaign with a 65-50 win over Thailand followed by a 66-59 victory over Samoa. Then, they crushed Maldives by 82 points, 110-28, to book an outright semifinal spot.

But the ghost of last year’s U16 tourney still haunts Gilas Girls in which they bowed to the Samoans, 73-88 in the semifinals to get booted out of contention.

Kristan Yumul, BJ Villarin, and Camille Nolasco were part of that U16 squad and they are now poised to correct those mistakes in a bid to book a spot in Division A.

The Philippines will also be leaning on Kate Bobadilla, who leads the scoring parade with averages of 15.7 points in three games.

For Aquino, they have to stay focused until the end if they want to realize their promotion.

“I think we can be in the final as long as we stay focused. Pool play is done so let’s try to focus on what’s ahead of us right now,” Aquino said.

“We just have to be ready. We don’t know what’s going to happen so we have to be prepared for what they will throw at us.”

“In basketball, luck comes into play. Take away the Xs and Os but we have to play hard.”

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