FIBA Women’s Asia Cup: Clare Castro, Gilas ready to face taller competition

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2021 06:36 PM

Clare Castro. File photo
Clare Castro. File photo

The Philippines national basketball team will be going up against a taller field at the 2021 FIBA Women's Asia Cup starting Monday in Amman, Jordan.

The Gilas Pilipinas women, who have an average height of 5-foot-8, are set to face towering China, Australia, and Chinese-Taipei in the group stages. 

The Chinese side has an average height of 6-foot-1 while the Australians stand at 5-foot-11.

Clare Castro, Gilas' 6-foot-4 center, acknowledged the height difference.

"Meron po talagang pressure kasi I'm the only one na matangkad sa team," the 24-year-old said. 

Since her graduation from Far Eastern University, Castro took her talent to the national team, forming an alliance with the likes of 6-foot-2 Jack Animam, and 6-footers Kelli Hayes and Danica Jose in the rotation of the Patrick Aquino-coached squad.

But Animam could not join the team due to her commitment to Serbian club Radnički Kragujevac, while Hayes could not come back home due to quarantine restrictions.

Despite the height disparity, Castro said she was excited to play in the tournament, where she will go head to head with Australia's Bec Allen, China duo Li Yueru and Han Xu, and Chinese-Taipei's Tsai Peichen.

"Lahat naman po ng teams nakaka-excite kalaban. Kasi sila po ’yung tough teams sa level na 'to," Castro said.

Backing up Castro are 5-foot-7 Ann Pingol and 5-foot-7 Mar Prado, both natural power forwards. They might also use the natural swingman Ria Nabalan, also 5-foot-7, at center.

That is why for Castro, it will be important to be on the floor at all times, avoiding unnecessary fouls while still bodying up against the giants of the continent.

"Gusto ko lang po maka-contribute sa team at magawa ’yung pinapagawa ng coaches sa akin," she said.

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