Gilas Women: Primer for FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2023
Published on June 24, 2023

The FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2023 will be held in Sydney, Australia from June 26 to July 2. This tournament brings together the best Women’s teams from the Asia and Oceania region every two years to battle it out for the Asia Cup trophy.

This is the 30th edition of the Women’s Asia Cup. The last one was held back in 2021 in Jordan where the Gilas Pilipinas Women’s team finished seventh out of the eight competing teams.

Who is part of the 2023 team?

The Philippine Team will be led by mainstays Afril Bernardino, Khate Castillo, Janine Pontejos, Camille Clarin, Ella Fajardo, and Chack Cabinbin. This is the same core that led the team back in 2021. Jack Animam, another Gilas veteran, is also part of the team. She missed the 2021 edition of the tournament as she was playing professionally in Europe at that time.

Angel Surada who played for the team in the 5×5 tournament, and Mikka Cacho who represented the country in the 3×3 tournament of the 2023 Southeast Asian Games will bolster the core of veterans. 

Jhaz Joson fresh from her stint in UAAP Season 85, and Louna Ozar, who played for the under-18 team in the FIBA Women’s Asian Championship 2022 will both give the team a youthful boost.

Vanessa De Jesus who is representing the Philippines for the first time is a new player to watch out for. She’s currently in her third year playing US NCAA Division 1 basketball for the Duke Blue Devils. The newest addition to Gilas gives the team a fresh look and additional firepower.

Who are Gilas’ opponents in the tournament?

Gilas is in Group B of the tournament along with Australia, Japan, and Chinese-Taipei.

Japan won the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in 2021 while Australia finished on the podium, nabbing the bronze medal. Chinese-Taipei finished the 2021 tournament just above the Philippines in sixth place.

Japan, ranked 9th in the world, is bringing back its best players from the 2021 squad. Monica Okoye, the team’s leading scorer from two years ago, and Saori Mizayaki, the tournament leader in assists, are both back in their team’s bid to defend the crown.

Australia, on the other hand, is missing its best player from 2021. Sam Whitcomb, the tournament’s leading scorer and second-best passer, isn’t on the final roster for this year’s edition. That means the third-ranked Aussies will lean heavier on the returning Lauren Scherf, Darcee Garbin, and Keely Froling.

The 33rd-ranked Chinese-Taipei team hasn’t finalized their roster of 12 yet as of writing, but in their pool are their top three scorers from 2021.

Group A is composed of 2021 silver medalist China, along with Korea, New Zealand, and Lebanon.

What is the tournament format?

The top team of each group automatically advances to the semifinals while the second and third-ranked teams of each group make it to the qualifying round.

In the qualifying round, the second-ranked team faces off against the third-ranked team of the other group in a crossover match-up. The winner then advances to the semifinals to face the top-ranked teams of each group.

The semifinals is a single-elimination game with the two winners advancing to the finals and the losers taking part in a third-place game.

What’s at stake in the tournament?

Besides the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup crown for the winner, teams are also fighting to stay away from relegation to Division B.

The worst team of the tournament gets relegated to the lower division of the Women’s Asia Cup tournament in 2025, with the winner of the Division B tournament this year taking their place in the next edition.

Where to watch

All of the Gilas games in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2023 tournament will be shown live on One Sports + channel 261. Games can also be seen on One Sports channel 6.

  1. Philippines vs. Australia – Live on June 26 at 5:30 PM (PHT) on One Sports + and One Sports
  2. Philippines vs. Japan – Live on June 27 at 3:00 PM (PHT) on One Sports + with a same day telecast on One Sports at 9:00 PM (PHT)
  3. Philippines vs. Chinese-Taipei – Live on June 28 at 5:30 PM (PHT) on One Sports + with a same-day telecast on One Sports at 10:00 PM (PHT)