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Bade, Bambrick boost Gilas

Gabi Bade is ready for another tour of duty with the Philippine women's basketball team. (Photo frm Gabi Bade's Facebook)

Gabi Bade is making a return while Filipino-American Malia Bambrick has been added into the mix when Gilas Pilipinas women squad competes in the William Jones Cup in Taipei starting 5 August.

Bade, daughter of former Philippine Basketball Association player Chris Bade, will be back for another tour of duty after helping Gilas win the gold medal in the 31st Southeast Asian Games last year.

She said she is excited to be back and be part of the growth of women’s basketball in the country.

“They welcomed me with open arms and kinda let me know that they believe in me so I ended up helping them win the gold,” Bade, a campaigner in the Division I of the US National Collegiate Athletic Association, said.

“It was a great experience being able to compete in the SEA Games for the gold. I’m just so proud of everybody when we played in the SEA Games and now, I’m excited to be back.”

“I like the progress of women’s basketball. It’s stepping up. People here (in the Philippines) look up to women’s volleyball, but now, it’s the women’s basketball’s turn.”

Also joining the squad is Bambrick — a 5-foot-10 guard who played for Pepperdine before transferring to Cal State Long Beach, where she averaged 11.6 points and 3.2 rebounds on 33.6 percent three-point shooting.

Bambrick is tipped to provide the backcourt stability that Gilas will miss in the absence of Division I standouts Ella Fajardo and Vanessa de Jesus as well as center Clare Castro in the Jones Cup and the 19th Asian Games.

Fil-Am Nation Select Founder Cris Gopez, who was instrumental in the recruitment of United States-based Filipinos to the Gilas program, said Bambrick will be a big help to the squad.

“Malia just got done finishing with Cal State Long Beach and previously she was with Pepperdine so she basically played five years in the States,” said Gopez, who was present in the thanksgiving party for the Gilas squad that got promoted to Division after winning the crown in the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship in Amman, Jordan last week.

“She’s close to six-foot tall and will add more height to the team. And for sure, she’s good to go.”

Also expected to be absent for the Gilas belles in the Jones Cup and the Asian Games are Louna Ozar of University of the Philippines and Angel Surada of National University, who will be seeing action in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.

Mikka Cacho will also miss the Jones Cup as she will be playing the 3×3 international competition for Uratex.

Still, Gilas coach Patrick Aquino remains confident.

“We have Gabi Bade coming in already. I also have Malia Bambrick coming in. Stephaie Berberabe is coming back. Sophia Roman is still there. All the other girls in the pool. Hopefully, we can see Kacey dela Rosa and Jhazmin Joson,” said Aquino, who also invited schools to participate and add players to the national pool.

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