(UPDATED) The Gilas Pilipinas Women's 3x3 team has withdrawn from the Asian Games, head coach Patrick Aquino confirmed on Monday.
The team was supposed to make their debut this evening at the Deqing Geographic Information Park Basketball Court in Hangzhou, China against Jordan.
However, they will not be able to do so after being left with just two players on their roster. According to Aquino, organizers did not clear their last-minute replacements, Marga Villanueva and Cielo Pagdulagan, who were supposed to replace Angel Surada and Camille Clarin.
Only Camille Nolasco and Louna Ozar were left in the women's 3x3 roster.
"Just so sad dahil first time kami dito (sa 3x3) and then ganito nga ang nangyari," Aquino said.
In a statement, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio explained that neither Villanueva nor Pagdulagan were on the initial list of 13 players that Aquino submitted to the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC), four months before the Asiad.
The "competitive list" of 13 players for the 3x3 teams included Clarin, Surada, Nolasco and Ozar, along with Filipino-American guard Vanessa de Jesus of Duke University, Ateneo de Manila University's Kacey dela Rosa, Kenna Ka, Angie Robles, Aurea Gingras, Lexi Marks, Ella Fajardo, Kristan Yumul, and Kayla Padilla.
"The list was mostly composed of collegiate student-athletes from the UAAP and the US NCAA, as eligibility for the event dictated an age requirement of under-23," Panlilio explained. "Unfortunately, all but two players eventually begged off."
"Not giving up, Coach Pat identified two other players to allow us to compete, but like other athletes appealed across different sports, HAGOC denied the appeals," he added.
Panlilio stressed that both Pagdulagan and Villanueva, despite not being part of the initial list, are "willing and ready to play for the team."
Aquino, for his part, said the team will move on from the incident.
"We can’t force players to play … We will just take it from there," he said.
Meanwhile, the men's 3x3 team will compete this afternoon against Jordan.