GILAS WOMEN STRIVES FOR LONG-OVERDUE ASCENT
After a year of the historic feat of clinching their first-ever SEA Games gold medal, Gilas Pilipinas Women is looking forward to a fresh start.
The Southeast Asian (SEA) Games achievement of the women’s national basketball team have sparked hope for Filipina ballers to ace up their game to greater heights.
However, Covid-19 had taken a toll on the sports activities which halted everyone’s plans.
Some may think that the progress of the Gilas Women has been stalled but Head Coach Pat Aquino thinks otherwise.
“It has greatly improved after what we have accomplished last year,” said Aquino.
“There were plans for 2020 on how to sustain the development of the women’s basketball program, but unfortunately, it didn’t push through because of the pandemic. However, despite the situation, we’ve been getting nothing but positive developments,” he further added.
Among the developments was the granting of professional status to the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL).
Filipina cagers have been given a chance to have a viable path for their basketball career after they graduate from college.
According to former national team coach Haydee Ong, this will give the national team a wider pool selection and said that it will greatly affect the experience and exposure.
Aquino wished for the success of WNBL and hoped that the pro league will be able to hone young talents.
“It was a good thing that they formed and organized a league for women and I’m just hoping it will be sustainable,” Aquino said.
“We need to still develop young players to form a better league. Ilan-ilan lang talaga ang masasabi natin na magaling and can carry the league, so we need more talent who can expose the field to various high-level competitions.”
The first-ever WNBL draft will be staged this month with over 148 aspirants from all over the country.
WNBL is targeting the first quarter of 2021 in opening its first season as a pro league.
“This year has affected us systemically, so we need to cure it by 2021 systemically as well,” Ong said.
“It’s going to be hard for all of us to adapt to the new normal, but one thing’s for sure: sports will always be part of our lives and we will persevere. We in sports will always finish it strong until the final buzzer sounds.”