Gilas Pilipinas Women are making headway in their preparations for the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2021.
The women’s national team is set to face Australia, China, and Chinese Taipei from September 27 to October 3 in Amman, Jordan.
With the competition roughly two weeks away, Gilas is currently staying at the JET Hotel while training at the Summit Point Golf & Country Club in Lipa, Batangas.
“We focused on strength and conditioning just to get the rhythm of each player again after almost more than a year of not playing,” said assistant coach Mark Solano.
Gilas Women last saw action in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, winning gold in both the 3×3 and 5-on-5 competitions. Recovering from rust and regaining chemistry, while implementing strategy after a long layoff is a balancing act that the team is equipped to face. After focusing on conditioning in the first couple of days of training camp, the team is gradually making its way to peak form.
“Then slowly, we introduced scrimmages again and so far the outcome has been great although not yet 100 percent,” added Solano.
Veterans Afril Bernardino, Khate Castillo, Chack Cabinbin, Clare Castro, Ria Nabalan, Mar Prado, Andrea Tongco, and Janine Pontejos headline the squad as they will begin life without mainstay Jack Animam who is set to play professionally in Serbia.
“Our team captain is Janine Pontejos with veterans Afril Bernardino, Chack Cabinbin, and Andrea Tongco,” said Solano. “These four vets are really exemplifying leadership to everyone in every aspect.”
The team has also been injected by youth as four players—Ella Fajardo, Ann Pingol, Kristine Cayabyab, and Camille Clarin—are set to make their national team debuts.
“For the four rookies, they’ve been adjusting to the system but slowly getting the hang of it,” said Solano.
The women’s team is manned by head coach Pat Aquino together with assistant coaches Solano, Jose Ramon Garcia, and Julie Amos. Also part of the staff are skills trainer Paolo Gorospe, physical trainer Rasse Dawn Urag. Dr. Jessie Lazaro as team doctor, and Leonardo Felisilda as utility personnel.
Gilas Women will face China on September 27, Australia on September 28, and Chinese Taipei on September 29.
GILAS WOMEN ROSTER
- Janine Pontejos (Team Captain)
- Afril Bernardino
- Chack Cabinbin
- Ria Nabalan
- Andrea Tongco
- Clare Castro
- Mar Prado
- Khate Castillo
- Kristine Cayabyab
- Camille Clarin
- Ella Fajardo
- Karl Ann Pingol