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Perlas coach: No less than the gold in KL

No less than the gold medal.

This is the target of the women’s basketball national team in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games this year, and coach Pat Aquino is confident they have a strong chance of hitting the mark with the recent progress of the squad.

“We’re aiming for the gold medal in the SEA Games, we don’t want a silver or a bronze. We know it’s going to be hard and it’s going to be tough, but that’s our target – win that elusive gold,” said Aquino yesterday.

The women’s national team – also know as Perlas – failed to win a medal in the previous SEA Games held in Singapore two years ago after Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand finished 1-2-3 on the medal podium while the Nationals placed fourth.

The women’s squad has yet to capture a gold medal in the SEA Games. In 2013, it settled for a silver medal as Thailand bagged the gold.

The successful stint of the team, however, in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) in Malaysia last September where it swept the competition had Aquino giving his squad a strong chance of finally winning the gold in the regional biennial meet.

In that SEABA competition, Perlas stunned Malaysia (77-73) and then dominated Thailand (72-52).The Nationals also won against Singapore (69-43), Laos (179-32) and Vietnam (1334-56).

According to Aquino, defending SEA Games champion Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand are expected to give the Philippines a tough challenge in the event this coming August.

“The same teams that finished in the Top 3 in the last SEA Games are the same teams that we expect to give us a tough competition,” said Aquino, who started to handle the women’s national team in 2015.