Gilas Pilipinas will finally have the opportunity to prove that his proteges can hold on to the best in the region.
National coach Patrick Aquino and his valiant U16 girls team provided the absolute best.
“It’s all a testament to our program. I know we’ve come a long way, but we’re getting there,” Aquino said after the team’s promotion to Division A, where the Philippines can finally test their caliber against the continent’s elite like China and Japan. .
Nobody seems to care about the wait, not after a dominant run in the Asian Under-16 Championship in Jordan caught the eye of the international basketball federation (Fiba).
“It was a race for the ages, no doubt,” Fiba said in a report on her website where she described the U16 girls’ race as possibly the best in Division B.
The Philippines earned their promotion after an 83-60 victory over Iran in the final, which capped a stint in which they blew their opponents out of the water by an average margin of victory of 53.4 points.
It was truly a commendable outing for this Gilas crew which featured 10 new faces. Only Ava Fajardo and Ryan Nair were on the 2022 roster that went to eventual champion Samoa in the semi-finals, ultimately missing out on promotion. This time the team put up stunning numbers that even beat the outings of previous tournament winners.
The Philippines shot 38.3% from the field, had 98.2 points, 60.8 rebounds and 27 assists per game to eclipse the averages of previous winners Samoa and India, according to a breakdown released by Fiba on Monday afternoon. . defense with a mind-boggling 27.2 interceptions per game that fueled their 39.4 forced errors against just 14.4 turnovers committed – all better than how the other two champions fared during their respective runs.
Against Iran, Nevaeh Smith starred in the burst with 21 points, including a four-point play midway through the first period which Gilas used to build his lead before nurturing it until at the end at Prince Hamzah Hall in Amman.
The Gilas Girls’ achievement comes just weeks after a promising campaign by the women’s team at the Asian Cup in Sydney, Australia, where the team led by Jack Animam and Afril Bernardino and newcomer Vanessa de Jesus won ultimately won the group stage while threatening. perennial favorites from New Zealand and South Korea. “It’s a great sense of accomplishment to achieve success on this team knowing that our hard work and dedication has paid off,” Aquino told the Inquirer in a message from Jordan.
“It’s a great achievement that will keep us on track,” he added. “This victory for Gilas Youth solidifies the success of our basketball program as we continue to prove that we belong with the best of the best.”
The Heroines loaded Gilas into the contest with Fajardo scoring 12 points, Ariel de la O adding 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Alyssia Palma posting eight points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in what could very well be a glimpse into the future. of the national program.
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