Duke recruit Vanessa de Jesus willing to play for Gilas women
MANILA, Philippines—Filipino-American guard Vanessa De Jesus is willing to be part of the Gilas Pilipinas program, saying it would be an honor to play for the country in international competitions.
Duke University’s recruit is based in California but both of her parents are Filipinos.
“I’m interested in playing for the Philippines (knowing) just how big basketball is there,” said De Jesus in reports. “I’m very excited about that.”
De Jesus, a product of Sierra Canyon, can only play in regional and 3×3 tournaments and not in Fiba-sanctioned 5-on-5 competitions as per the governing body’s ruling that a player has to prove her nationality through a passport before turning 16.
Tournaments such as the Southeast Asian Games and the Jones Cup will allow De Jesus to suit up for the Philippines.
Gilas women’s head coach Pat Aquino said that De Jesus is “very much welcome” to be part of the national team.
“There’s a great opportunity for her to represent us in international tournaments,” said Aquino in the report.
De Jesus joining the national program would come at an opportune time especially with the Philippines experiencing a surge in women’s basketball.
The Philippines made history in the 2019 SEA Games when it won the gold medals in both the 5×5 and 3×3 formats and the Games and Amusements Board recently granted the Women’s National Basketball League a professional license.
De Jesus, a Gold Coast MVP, has been training in Durham since August 2 under the guidance of coach Kara Lawson, a former WNBA champion and Olympic gold medalist.
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