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With their SEA Games 3x3 basketball conquest, Gilas Women hope to draw more support, recognition for Women's basketball

by Niel Victor Masoy, December 02, 2019 7:56pm

Every time the Gilas Pilipinas Women compete in international tournaments, they’re not only thinking about winning it all and making the country proud.

Every time they take the court, they also want to let the Filipino hoops fans realize that Women's basketball in the Philippines does exist, indeed.

And with their gold medal win in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games 3x3 basketball tournament, they hope that Women's basketball in this basketball-mad country would get more support and recognition from the fans.

“I’m just so happy for the girls (Janine Pontejos, Afril Bernadino, Jack Animam, and Clare Castro), especially for the Women’s basketball,” said Gilas Women’s head coach Pat Aquino moments after they won the gold medal Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“First time natin sumali sa 3x3, first time din sa 3x3 na we won our gold. History again. Sana diri-diretso na ‘to. I hope with this win, with this gold medal, ma-recognize naman yung hard work ng mga girls,” he added.

“I’m just proud of them. All their hard work, all their sacrifices, sobra-sobrang love nila for basketball. Talagang para sa bayan. Puso para sa bayan.”

Janine Pontejos, who has been playing for the Gilas Women’s team since 2016, expanded what his coach said in a broader sense. The 27-year-old phenom hopes what they have just accomplished would bring more support and recognition not only to them, but most importantly to the Philippine Women's basketball in general as well.

“Syempre sobrang sarap sa feeling na mag-represent ng Women’s basketball. Ang saya sa pakiramdam na nag champion kami tsaka ang sarap sa pakiramdam na yung mga tao sumusuporta sa’min at tumutulong magpalakas ng loob namin,” she said.

“Siguro naman makikilala na yung Women’s basketball sa nagawa namin,” remarked the 27-year-old phenom, who drew MVP chants from the home crowd due to his stellar showing in this competition.

“Mas gagalingan pa namin, pipilitin pa namin makuha yung gold sa 5-on-5 para wala na silang masabi sa amin, added Pontejos, referring to the SEA Games Women’s 5-on-5 basketball competition set to start on December 4 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

With their gold medal win, Aquino, again, is hoping that more support and recognition are headed towards Women’s basketball. For him, that should start when the Gilas Women’s team opens its SEA Games 5-on-5 campaign on December 5 against Indonesia.

“December 5, kalaban natin Indonesia, so sana with this gold medal win, sana masuportahan yung Women’s basketball. I’m just happy na nandito kami to represent the country and we’ll do our very best to win that gold.”

“Every game is a must (win), every game you have to really stay focused on winning that game. I know it’s a lot at hand but I know this girls can do it.

“They’ve been there, and all the adversity na nagagawa namin (malampsan) from practice to international competitions. Now we’re here again in the SEA Games and we’re playing in front of our countrymen. Sabi ko sa kanila, let’s just play as hard as we can. All out talaga lahat.”

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