MANILA -- Gilas Pilipinas wing man Chris Newsome sees the 37th-ranked Gilas Women taking its program to the next level soon.
"It should just be a matter of time before they start making a splash on the world stage," Newsome said.
"They're all really hardworking, they've got a great coach, they've got a great program over there."
The men's and women's senior national teams recently conducted a joint practice at the PhilSports Arena last Thursday, and Newsome said he is personally fond of seeing their female counterparts succeed in the highest stage as well.
"I think them making this Asian Games appearance is already proof that they deserve to be there and that they’re improving their game," the Meralco Bolts veteran said.
"I wish them the best of luck, I know they’re capable of great things."
Women's basketball has been deeply ingrained in Newsome's heart; aside from being a men's national team mainstay since getting FIBA local eligibility status, he also manages a women's 3x3 squad called the New waves.
The 33-year-old PBA veteran explained that deciding to put up his own team is his little help to provide players with opportunities and continue growing the sport locally.
"That’s my share to help with women’s basketball," he shared. "They’re so grateful as well. Just seeing them be able to lace up their shoes and go out and play the game that they love, that’s all the satisfaction that I need."
Expectations will be high for Gilas Women in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China after their breakthrough sixth-place finish in the FIBA Women's Asia Cup.
Coach Patrick Aquino's team is again grouped with Japan, the Asia Cup silver medalists and 2018 Asian Games bronze medalists, as well as Kazakhstan and Hong Kong.
The longtime women's basketball mentor said he is approaching the ladies' first Asian Games appearance with both excitement and the responsibility to perform well.
"First time ever in the Asian Games, it’s like the Olympics in Asia. A lot of expectations from us after the wonderful Asia Cup, so we just hope we can represent the country well. Lagi naman, dapat laban lagi at puso," Aquino said.
Newsome also urged Filipino basketball fans to keep on supporting the women's program in their competitions for them to receive the same level of recognition as the men's side.
"It's very important because they put just the same amount of time into their craft as we do, if not more, so they really worked hard, diligently, I think it’s important to understand that the amount of work they put in doesn’t go unnoticed," he said.
"I think that’s important for all the kababayans out there to support them. This is what they do, and they don’t get the recognition that a lot of the guys get."