MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine netball team hopes to pick up from where they left off, as they eye a modest finish in their next major international campaign.
Siklab Pilipinas made a good account of themselves in the recently-concluded Asian Netball Championships, and they hope to do the same in next year's Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Thailand.
The Filipinas bagged a plate title in the Asian meet after a sweep of Maldives (59-41) and Brunei (40-37) in Group F during the second round of the competitions held at the OCBC Arena in Singapore. Earlier, they split their games against India (45-41) and Sri Lanka (99-37), relegating them to the group plate.
They later repeated against Brunei in the playoffs (42-38) to finish fifth place overall, a marked improvement since a ninth place finish during the 2018 edition of the tournament.
Sri Lanka beat host Singapore for the title, 63-53.
Their morale and confidence boosted, members of the Siklab team are looking to do well in the AIMAG considering the one-year preparation it will have prior to the Nov. 17-26 meet.
"Ang gagawin naming preparation is to improve what we achieved in the Asian netball. I-improve pa rin namin 'yung laro namin," said coach Piao Fedillaga at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) a day after arriving from Singapore.
Team captain Ken Lomogda seconded her coach, saying: "Kakayanin namin. Tatrabahuhin ulit namin."
Siklab will face the same cast of teams in the AIMAG as the top eight finishers in the Asian netball earned a slot in the quadrennial showpiece originally set last March, but was deferred for next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aside from the Philippines, Singapore, and Sri Lanka, other countries competing are Malaysia, Hong Kong, Brunei, Maldives, and India.
Soriano said with netball not to be played in the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, Siklab will have its focus on preparing and training for the AIMAG.
Overseas training is in the pipeline, according to Fedillaga, with Singapore as the team’s likely destination.
"Singapore ang talagang tumutulong sa amin sa netball. Kailangan naming maghanap ng club teams to help us out, and kailangan kasi namin ng tune-up games, catch-up games. Yun kasi ang wala tayo dito sa Pilipinas," said Fedillaga.