After 11 years, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will field a team in the FIBA Women’s Under-16 Asian Championship. After the boys, it’s the girls’ turn to compete in FIBA competition from June 24-30 in Amman, Jordan.
Competing in Division B the girls of program director Patrick Aquino will look to shock the continent and be promoted to the top tier.
Headlining the team is Ella Fajardo’s sister Ava. Ava is a 5-foot-4 guard who plays for Gill St. Bernard.
In the interim, Fil-Am Nation Select also brought nine Filipino-American prospects back home.
Six-foot-one Samantha Medina of Meadowdale High School headlines the crew.
Also joining the team are 6-footer Gabriella Ramos (Clovis East), 5-foot-11 Emaleena Elson (Portola), 5-foot-9 Kristan Yumul (Oxnard), 5-foot-9 Sierra Patricio (Bill Crothers), 5-foot-8 Hannah Lopez (Denmark), 5-foot-8 Kailah Oani (St. Joseph), 5-foot-7 Ryan Nair (Woodcreek), and 5-foot-4 Naomi Panganiban (La Jolla Country Day).
Completing the squad are 5-foot-6 Nazareth School of National University standout BJ Villarin and 5-foot-3 Miriam College guard Camille Nolasco.
Gilas will take on Indonesia, Syria, and Samoa — in that order. The top team in the pool will advance to the semis while the bottom two teams will have to go through a crossover playoff against either Kazakhstan, Iran, Jordan, or Lebanon.
Julie Amos will coach the team.
The Philippines finished in sixth place during the 2011 edition of the tournament in Urumqi.
Last June 24 the Philippines came out firing in the second half for a 104-68 ripping of Indonesia at the start of Division B action.
Gabriella Ramos powered Gilas Girls with an all-around performance, knocking in a game-high 27 points built on a 55% shooting clip. The 15-year old forward also collected 20 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 4 blocks.
Kristan Geyl Yumul helped fuel the Philippines’ second-half breakaway, unloading 20 points, 18 coming from beyond the arc, on a 54% shooting mark.
After a slim 45-39 halftime advantage, the Gilas Girls turned it up after the break in a decisive run powered by Yumul and Ramos that put them up by 20 points, 70-50.
Only the tournament winner will move up to Division A, where teams will fight for a spot in the FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup.