Gilas Women’s basketball team faced tough challenges in their consecutive matches at the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, falling to both Australia and Japan. Despite a better performance in their second game, they were unable to overcome the six-time champion, Japan, who emerged victorious with a score of 95-57.
In their match against Japan, Vanessa de Jesus once again showcased her skills, contributing 12 points along with four assists. Afril Bernardino also made significant contributions with 12 points and eight rebounds. Jack Animam, who struggled in the previous game, bounced back with eight points, seven assists, two blocks, and two steals, demonstrating her versatility and impact on both ends of the court.
Japan’s Himawari Akaho and Mai Yamamoto led the charge for their team, scoring 16 and 15 points respectively. Saki Hayashi and Aika Hirashita also made significant contributions, aiding Japan in securing their second consecutive victory in the tournament.
Gilas Women’s next challenge comes in the form of Chinese-Taipei as they aim to conclude their Group B campaign on a positive note. A victory in this crucial matchup, combined with a loss for Chinese-Taipei against Australia, would guarantee Gilas Women’s progression to the next round of the tournament.
Apart from vying for the continental championship, the Women’s Asia Cup holds further significance as it will determine the four nations that will advance to the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments for the Summer Olympic Games in Paris next year.
In their previous game against Australia, Gilas Women faced a formidable opponent and struggled with their shooting, resulting in a lopsided 105-34 defeat. The team encountered difficulties due to their undersized lineup and struggled to find their rhythm offensively. Vanessa de Jesus stood out as the lone bright spot, impressing in her national team debut with 18 points.
Veterans Afril Bernardino and Chack Cabinbin contributed eight points combined, while Camille Clarin and Angel Surada added three points each. The Opals, led by Darcee Garbin and Lauren Scherf with 18 and 17 points respectively, showcased their dominance and delighted the home crowd.
Gilas Women face another tough test in their upcoming match against Japan, a team with a rich history of success in the tournament. Despite the challenges they have faced, the Filipino squad remains determined to bounce back and showcase their resilience.
As the tournament progresses, Gilas Women will also face Chinese-Taipei in a crucial encounter, with hopes of avoiding relegation and securing a spot in the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments for the Paris Summer Olympic Games.
The FIBA Women’s Asia Cup not only crowns a continental champion but also provides opportunities for nations to compete for a chance to qualify for the prestigious Olympic Games. As Gilas Women continue their campaign, they aim to leave a lasting impression and represent the Philippines with pride on the international stage.