Gilas women face must win classification vs India after 0-3 slide
MANILA, Philippines—Gilas Pilipinas Women are not just fighting for their first win in the 2021 Fiba Women’s Asia Cup Division A, but also holding to their inclusion in Level I in the world rankings.
Standing in front of Gilas’ goal is world no.70 India in the classification for the seventh and eighth places in the continental tournament.
Gilas head coach Pat Aquino said it is imperative for them to take the win or else face relegation to Level II.
“We have to win. That’s the main point. I think the target is to stay in Level I,” said Aquino in a virtual press conference following the Philippines’ 93-52 loss to Taiwan on Thursday.
The Philippines was promoted to Level I in 2015 but a winless campaign in the Asia Cup could send the team back to Level II.
“I know it’s really hard, tough games previously, but we feel that we can play our very best against India and I think with the experience the girls have already after three games, they know that they have to adjust and probably to do little things more to win the game tomorrow.”
“I think the players that we brought in have already experienced how to play here and maybe they’ll bring their A-game tomorrow. I just hope we’ll be competitive.”
Despite India’s lower Fiba ranking this tournament, Aquino said the lone classification game against India won’t be a walk in the park.
The Philippines has an average height of 5-foot-6, three inches shorter than that of India’s.
India also has 6-foot-1 Stephy Nixon and 6-foot Anumaria Chenganamattathil at the center position, both towering over the 5-foot-7 Clare Castro.
“This will be very tough. I think India brought some tall players this time, and I brought some small players this time also. So it’s gonna be very tough,” said Aquino. “It’s a matter of execution and adjustment for the game tomorrow.”