By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.
While Gilas Pilipinas program has been successful for the Philippines men’s basketball, strengthening the women’s caging is also urged through grassroots development initiative as the country prepares for next year’s Asian Games and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games which the country is hosting.
Following the dismal performance of the Philippine women’s basketball team, Perlas Pilipinas, in the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, stakeholders of the sports are expecting the national sports association to look into the possibility of expanding the program to the provinces.
Former Perlas forward Ewon Arayi said the Philippines needs to have a commercial league for women basketeers for them to level up and play at par with the elite athletes.
“Here in the Philippines, we don’t really have a league wherein our Perlas players will be more active even in off-season,” Arayi said. “Though we have 3-on-3 tournaments for the WPBA,” she added.
She also stressed that the girls’ basketball programs in the provinces should be strengthened in order to discover more talents to feed the requirements of the national team.
“We might be able to tap good and tall players. Who knows?” she said.
The Perlas Pilipinas finished empty-handed in this year’s SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, its second straight non-medal finish in the biennial meet. In 2011 and 2013 SEAG, Perlas finished silver behind Thailand./WDJ