Members of the Gilas Pilipinas team welcomed the idea of having a 3x3 league for women in the coming months.
Team member April Bernardino said this after she and her teammates and the coaching staff as well received incentives totaling P600,000 for making history in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Each of Bernardino’s teammate got P100,000 each for winning the gold medal in the 3x3 basketball women’s division of the biennial meet.
A tournament for women, according to Bernardino, will keep her from going abroad, playing for squads that are looking for imports.
“Siyempre, mag-stay ako,” said Bernardino, who played for the Valkyrie Hatchers in a Malaysian league two years ago.
Bernardino talked about her plans during a meeting at the Ortigas center with 3x3 league owner Ronald Mascarinas, who personally handed the national squad its cash incentives.
Bernardino, Jack Animam and Clare Castro got their bonuses with assistant coach Mark Solano.
Pontejos unable to make it, along with coach Patrick Aquino due to other commitments.
The Filipinas went 4-1 in the preliminary stages before beating Vietnam, 21-12, in the semifinals. Then, they got back at Thailand in the gold medal game, 17-13.
The win of Gilas Pilipinas in the 3x3 competitions has inspired Mascarinas to draw up plans to expand the local Pilipinas 3x3 League to the women’s side.
The women’s 3x3 meet will go side by side with the men’s 3x3, when it tips off in February.
“We renewed our commitment. We’re looking at making a 3x3 league for women,” said Mascarinas.
Mascarinas added that now that a men’s squad is set to join a qualifier this March, the time is right to shift their focus on the formation of a women’s league.
And Mascarinas has hopes that qualification will come for the Philippines in 2024.
Hopes are high, according to Mascarinas, that the Philippines can gain automatic qualification for the women’s 3x3 competitions in the Paris Olympics with their undertakings.
“Our target is automatic qualification. In the next four years, we should qualify in the top three,” Mascarinas continued.