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Tough battles await Pinay cagers in Korea

Gilas Pilipinas women's team faces stiff competition agaisnt crack teams from South Korea, Japan and Australia. (Photo from Gilas Women's Basketball FB)

A pair of professional teams from Japan, six clubs from South Korea and another from Australia will test the mettle of Gilas Pilipinas Women team when it competes in the Park Shin Ja Cup from 27 August to 3 September at the Cheongju Gymnasium in South Korea.

The Eneos Sunflowers and the Toyota Antelopes are tipped to give Gilas girls a tough time as they are coming off a successful season in the Women’s Japan Basketball League.

Both squads disputed the title with the Sunflowers emerging victorious behind the sizzling performance of Ramu Tokashiki, a 6-foot-4 power forward who averaged 20 points and 12.2 rebounds per game in the previous season of their domestic league.

Prior to getting beaten by the Sunflowers, the Antelopes used to be the back-to-back WJBL champions with Japanese-Ghanaian hotshot Stephanie Mawuli at the helm.

Mawuli, who led the national team of Japan to FIBA 3×3 Under-23 World Championship title and the FIBA Asia Cup crown, averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and four assists per game in the recent season.

Meanwhile, the Koreans will be represented by the Wooribank, Samsunglife, Shihanbank, KB Stars, Hana 1Q and BNK Sum while the Australians will field the Bendigo Spirit, who are being bannered by Anneli Maley and Kelsey Griffin.

Gilas women’s coach Patrick Aquino expects a much tougher competition than what they experienced in the previous William Jones Cup, where they won only once in five matches.

Aquino, however, explained that the participation goes beyond winning as they are looking to gain experience that they would need when they compete in the 19th Asian Games next month.

“We’re busy with our buildup for the Asian Games and these games in Korea against crack teams are very important for us,” Aquino said.

“Of course, we want to win, but the games go beyond winning and losing as we really want to be tested in preparation for our first ever Asiad.”

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