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Gilas Girls coach wants new faces

Gilas Girls head coach Patrick Aquino vowed to recruit new players following their third-place finish in the FIBA U18 Women’s Asian Championship Division B.

Aquino told Daily Tribune that he will start scouting for fresh talents as soon as they return to the country from a week-long campaign in the prestigious tourney held in India.

“I’m really working on it since I’ve been going around the country lately like in Cebu and Davao to look for new players,” said Aquino, the architect of National University’s unbeaten streak in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.

“I’ve been going around to spread the news that we need all the grassroots programs. This won’t be just beneficial for me, but also to other coaches around the country.”

Aquino added that the Japanese brand of basketball is something worth emulating.

“I’m a big fan of the Japanese system,” he said.

“They’re small and fast and we would try to emulate what they’re doing. We would ask around and watch them play so hopefully we get to do the same thing – not only from Japan – but also Chinese Taipei with what they did against China.”

He added that the Japanese style of play is perfect for Filipinas.

“It’s going to be hard, but we already saw their results when we supported our program,” he said.

“Japan has fast-paced plays and their moves are systematic. They move with a purpose.”

Gilas Girls had an impressive run in the tourney after beating Thailand, 65-50, Samoa, 66-59, and Maldives, 110-28, to earn an automatic semifinal berth.

They, however, suffered a 65-66 loss to regional rival Malaysia to be relegated to the battle for bronze, where they won over Samoa, 64-68.

Aquino said this eight-nation tourney ruled by the Malaysians opened their eyes about the importance of having a strong grassroots program.

“Looking at Japan, they have been training since they were kids,” he said.

“For me, we have to take it slowly and take it one step at a time. We had a big step in the recent U16 and U18 tournaments. Hopefully, we can do better next time.”

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