Aquino all for wards getting opportunities overseas
Gilas Pilipinas women’s coach Patrick Aquino was like a giddy father talking about his daughter when asked about Jack Animam’s offer to play as an import in Taiwan.
Feeling this good about one of his players is not the first for him, though, as a handful of his charges have played in Indonesia and Malaysia, among them Afril Bernardino, Gemma Miranda, Alyanna Lim and Andrea Tongco.
“As coaches, we’re all about growth [of our players]. We also want more opportunities for their families,” Aquino told the Inquirer on Sunday.
Animam is set to play for Shih Hsin University (SHU) in Taipei once the lockdown because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is lifted and when it is safe to travel there.
Aside from reinforcing SHU, a recently crowned champion team in the University Basketball Association, Aquino said the 23-year-old Animam has been sought to play for a commercial team, also in Taiwan.
“It’s a league featuring big companies—brands like Nissan, Taiwan Electric,” he said. “Although I believe the offer is still being finalized.”
Aquino—who said that he is sometimes a brother, sister, mother and father to his wards—believes that not only the financial rewards are what his player stand to gain playing outside of the country.
“The experiences they can gain, all of those we can tap into down the line,” he said. “Use them when [the Philippines] competes internationally.”
“They will likely play against players of the same caliber, so this helps us a lot,” Aquino added. “It will provide a big boost to their confidence.”
Aquino couldn’t help but rue temporarily losing some of the gains that women’s basketball had since late last year, when his squad won the country’s first-ever Southeast Asian Games gold medal.
“We were all optimistic after January,” Aquino said. “We were in talks with SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) for a commercial league for the girls. They told us they were setting up talks with big sponsors. Then all this happened.”
Gilas was also supposed to enter two Fiba 3×3 tournaments in the coming months. They are also scheduled to compete in the Jones Cup in July—if it will be played at all.
“We have nothing on the program for now since there are no leagues to compete in,” he added. INQ