SEA Games: Gilas women hope double gold leads to more support
Paul Lintag on Dec 11, 2019 12:50 PM
“Sana, lagi na lang puro kami sana. And now that we’re here. We achieved the goals that we were supposed to do.” — Gilas women head coach Pat Aquino. (Photo by Richard Esguerra)
MANILA — With two shiny gold medals from the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, everybody has no choice but to pay attention to Gilas Pilipinas women and women’s basketball in general in the Philippines.
At least that’s the hope now.
Gilas women made history in the SEA Games, first winning the 3x3 basketball tournament.
A week later, the Philippine national women’s team won the country’s first ever gold medal in 5x5 basketball. In both Finals, Gilas women beat Thailand.
“We’ve been dreaming of that since day 1 na we handled the national team, na sana we make it great for women,” head coach Pat Aquino said.
“Sana, lagi na lang puro kami sana. And now that we’re here. We achieved the goals that we were supposed to do,” he added.
It’s been a struggle to get attention and support for women’s basketball in the Philippines.
After the UAAP, Filipina players have nowhere else to go, aside from actually making the national team.
Obviously, Gilas women can’t accomodate all the players coming up. Coach Pat is hoping that their double gold can pave the way for a proper women’s league here.
“That’s the dream na gusto ko. Now that I’m the sports director or the program director for Women’s Basketball, I really wanted women’s basketball to grow,” he said.
“Hopefully sponsors would come in next year and help us out to have a league of their own for the women’s basketball. And I think they’ll be proud of it. These girls really worked hard. Walang mga prima donna. And they’re gonna play as hard as they can,” Aquino added.
For the meantime, Gilas Pilipinas women will take a short break before they set their sights on a bigger goal like FIBA Asia.
The SEA Games double gold is certainly not going to be their peak, it’s just the start.
“Let’s not just let this pass by. Everybody, pagtapos nito syempre wala na naman. We will focus with other things. But sana we could achieve more by you know, supporting us,” Aquino said.
“Sana we continue more and improve. Next stop, FIBA Asia naman. So hopefully, yun naman yung target,” Coach Pat added.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8