KACEY dela Rosa (28) and Jhazmin Joson (15) — UAAP MEDIA

AFTER an impressive campaign in UAAP Season 85 women’s basketball, Ateneo de Manila Univeersity standouts Kacey dela Rosa and Jhazmin Joson have assured their commitment for flag and country should their numbers be called up for Gilas Pilipinas duty.

Mmess. Dela Rosa and Joson formed a formidable one-two punch combo for the Blue Eagles that resulted in the team’s first Final Four finish since 2015, boosting their stock as among the up-and-coming national team prospects.

Gilas women head coach Pat Aquino as early as last week have floated their names for a possible national team call up when he assembles the squad for a hectic schedule next year to be highlighted by a three-peat bid in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

And the duo considered as “Shaq and Kobe” of Ateneo are ready to heed the call.

“Well, it’ll be an honor to play for the country,” said Ms. Joson after Ateneo’s 83-64 semis loss to six-time reigning champion National University.

Ms. Dela Rosa posted monstrous averages of 16.85 points, 14.38 rebounds and 3.38 blocks while Ms. Joson put up 11.33 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.93 steals to become fellow MVP candidates for Season 85.

Ateneo mentor LA Mumar also emphasized the school’s willingness to lend the two stalwarts in support for the national team program — given no hurdles in their academic duties.

Aside from the two, Gilas women architect Mr. Aquino is eyeing a bevy of UAAP standouts led by De La Salle’s Lee Sario with UST’s Tacky Tacatac and MVP frontrunner Eka Soriano as part of its pool expansion along with overseas prospects.

“Im really preparing and I’ve already made a list. Definitely, it’s a good problem for me to expand the pool,” added Aquino as Gilas also braces for the Asian Games and the FIBA Asia Cup. — John Bryan Ulanday