Women’s hoops team excited to get tested in Discovery Hoops invitationalBy: Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — After a two-year layoff, Discovery Perlas ng Pilipinas, the country’s women’s basketball team, is just excited to get its mettle tested anew.
So Perlas ng Pilipinas is expected to go all out to defend its title against two nations, Australia and Singapore, in the 2nd Discovery Women’s Basketball Invitational slated on August 22 to 25.
Since bagging Southeast Asian Games silver medal two years ago, the Filipinos have been working relentlessly to stay in game shape, and the upcoming tournament is nothing but a welcome test.
“We’re really excited because after two years, this is the first time that we’re playing in a tournament, so we’ve prepared really hard for this,” said veteran guard Joan Grajales in Filipino.
The Filipinas have been training twice a day and playing in tune-up matches against men’s teams in the UAAP and NCAA.
“It will be a test to see where we’re at. It will be nice to see all the practice hours out there on the court,” said forward Melissa Jacob at press launch at the Discovery Suites in Ortigas.
The tournament is also aimed at helping the ladies gear up for the Fiba Asia Championships for Women’s late in October, and for the SEA Games in December.
First held in Bacolod in 2011, this year’s edition of the invitational, also named the Jesse Robredo Memorial Cup, will be hosted by Naga City and in commemoration of the late Interior and Local Government secretary Robredo.
“We recognize that this is the first international sporting event to be held in Naga. Sports tourism is something we really acknowledge and we are excited for countries to come in,” said Noli Ayo, tournament commissioner.
Singapore is bringing its national team to the country, while the Australia Gold Coast squad is going to be composed of current and former players who suited up in the international competition.
The three teams will play in a single round-robin format with the top two facing off in a one-off finale at the last day of the competition.