GILAS PILIPINAS Under-16 Girls Team — FIBA

GILAS Pilipinas women are on the right path to conquering greater heights after adding another feather in their cap.

For head coach and program director Pat Aquino, the work will not stop for the continuous development of the Philippine women’s team on the heels of two successive breakthroughs this month.

“It’s a big accomplishment. It keeps us on the right track for making a bigger name for the women’s teams,” Mr. Aquino told The STAR yesterday after the youth team’s homecoming from Amman, Jordan.

Gilas women started the campaign for the Philippines with flying colors by finishing sixth in the 2023 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in Sydney, Australia earlier this month. It’s the highest finish for the Filipinas at the continental level since a fourth-place finish in 1984. The team also advanced to the playoffs for the first time their Division A promotion in 2015.

This week, the Gilas girls joined their big sisters in the Division A after a dominant championship run in the 2023 FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship Division B.

Gilas girls posted an average winning margin of 53.4 points in five games highlighted by an 83-60 win over Iran in the finals. They will now join three-time reigning champion Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, China and Samoa in the next edition of Division A tilt.

The Philippines’ latest achievements in the far tougher Asian level certainly made up for their defeat in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, where they settled for a pair of silver medals in the 3×3 and 5-on-5 tourneys.

“This Gilas youth win solidifies the success of our Philippine women’s basketball program as we continue to prove that we belong with the best of the best,” added Mr. Aquino.

Up next for Gilas is the Jones Cup next month in Taiwan and the Asian Games in September in China.

Meanwhile, Kieffer Alas sizzled for 27 points as the Gilas boys routed Malaysia, 94-52, to fire off their 2023 FIBA U16 Asian Championship-SEABA Qualifiers campaign on a high note late Monday night.

Gilas was to play Thailand last night for a 2-0 bid in the tourney that also features Indonesia with only the top two teams advancing to the Asian joust set in September in Qatar. — John Bryan Ulanday