MANILA, Philippines–Gilas Pilipinas Women head coach and program director Pat Aquino held his head high even after the Philippines’ silver finish in the 3×3 women’s basketball in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.
“From losing the first game to [getting] to the championship [game], I think that’s already a better showing from the previous SEA Games,” Aquino said shortly after the loss in the final at Morodok Techo National Stadium.
“Now, we’re back again with silver, so I’m a bit happy, still, with our performance,” he went on.
The Philippines bowed to sweet-shooting Vietnam, 21-16, to end its campaign at Phnom Penh, but it was a better performance compared to Gilas’ outing last year in Hanoi, Vietnam, where it wound up as fourth overall.
The defeat also showed that program cornerstone Jack Animam is back in tip-top shape, which should augur well for Gilas when it defends its throne in the 5-on-5 competition.
“She’s getting back. She’s been away for quite some time, but I’m just happy she’s back,” Aquino said of Animam, who missed last year’s golden campaign due to a knee injury.
“Hopefully … she’s able to jell even more with her team here at the SEA Games,” he went on.
Another silver lining for Gilas was how it fared against Cambodia, which paraded naturalized players during the semifinal clash.
In that game, the hosts unveiled Meighan Simmons, a WNBA veteran who played against Animam in France.
Gilas won that match, which should come in as an inspiration for the program when it opens its three-peat bid in the 5-on-5 competition against the Cambodians this Wednesday.
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