Gilas Women

SEA Games title defense among targets for Gilas Women next year

SEA Games title defense among targets for Gilas Women next year

STAY. Gilas Pilipinas Women have retained their FIBA Division A spot with a seventh-place finish in the Women's Asia Cup.


Gilas Pilipinas Women face a busy 2022 schedule, which includes the FIBA Women's World Cup Qualifying Tournament and the Southeast Asian Games

Gilas Pilipinas Women will soon return to the grind as they gear up for two major international tournaments next year.

Head coach Pat Aquino said the national team will start training again in November for the FIBA Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament and its title-retention bid in the Southeast Asian Games.

After keeping their FIBA Division A spot following a seventh-place finish in the recent Women’s Asia Cup, Aquino and his crew will sit down with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to discuss their future plans.

“We’re just waiting and looking forward, preparing all the plans and getting all the players for the tournaments again,” Aquino said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum on Tuesday, October 12.

At the top of those plans is the potential return of 6-foot-5 center Jack Animam, who did not see action in the Women’s Asia Cup due to her commitments to her professional team in Serbia.

Gilas Women also hopes to have USA-born Filipina cager Mai-Loni Henson, a former standout of the University of Washington Huskies.

The national team, though, will miss the services of guard Ella Fajardo in the World Cup qualifiers in February as she is set to suit up for Fairleigh Dickinson University in the US NCAA.

Animam and Henson are expected to play key roles as the Philippines aims to retain its women’s basketball throne in the SEA Games, which will be hosted by Vietnam in May.

The Filipina ballers ruled the SEA Games women’s basketball for the first time following an unbeaten run at home soil two years ago.

“We worked hard for that so we need to defend our crown,” said Gilas Women veteran Janine Pontejos in Filipino.

After the World Cup qualifiers and SEA Games, Aquino is setting his sights on the Asian Games in China in September, wishing that sports officials would finally allow Gilas Women to participate in the quadrennial meet.

“We deserve to be playing for the country in the Asian Games,” said Aquino. –