MANILA, Philippines?The Philippines braces for an arduous run as it debuts against powerhouse Thailand in the 19th Fiba-Asia under-18 ladies basketball championship today at the Angkasa Lanud Hall in Medan, Indonesia.
Mentored by Raymond Celis, the Xtreme RP team will also see action against Kazakhstan, Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong in Level II.
Socorro Borja, Raiza Rose Palmera, Agatha Marie Estrero and Mary Joan Leviste of UAAP champion Far Eastern University spearhead the squad.
?We understand that we need to strengthen the youth program to prepare them for the bigger battle ahead,? said team backer Orville Roque, president of Xtreme Magic Sing?s mother company The Astra Group.
During the send-off party, chief operating officer Heny Fabian also reminded the players to sustain their passion despite the odds.
No Philippine team has won more than one game in the previous stagings of the Asian U-18 championship.
Six-time defending champion China, Korea, Japan, Chinese-Taipei, India and Malaysia will slug it out in the elite Level I, where the top four squads will clash in the knockout semifinals for a slot at the 2009 World Championship.
The bottom finishers in Level I will tangle against the top two teams from Level II for a slot in the next edition?s elite level.
University of the East?s Cindy Resultay, Adamson?s Katherine Sandel, Fria Bernardo, Khaterine Mangahas, Angelica Ortega and Ana Versoza, National University?s Carmina Laquinadum and La Salle-Dasmariñas?s Allalaine Degomas round up the roster.