By REYNALD MAGALLON
The Gilas Pilipinas women’s team made a huge leap in the latest FIBA World rankings, rising to No. 37 from 42nd.
The improvement was attributed to their solid showing in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in Sydney, Australia last June.
For the first time since its promotion to Division A in 2015, Gilas finally broke through and advanced to the knockout stage of the tournament by virtue of its stunning 92-81 victory over Chinese Taipei.
Aside from that, the Filipinas also held their own against higher ranked New Zealand losing only by five, 83-78 and South Korea by nine 80-71 in the playoffs to wind up sixth in the tournament.
Gilas, however, remained at the seventh spot in Asia – a region where four of the top 15 teams in the world are coming from.
Leading the way is the world No. 2 China followed by another regional powerhouse in Australia at the third spot.
Japan, which Gilas will be facing in the group stage of the women’s 5-on-5 basketball event in the 19th Asian Games, landed at the ninth spot.
South Korea improved one spot from its previous mark, now at No. 13 while New Zealand climbed six places to finish at the 23rd spot. Chinese Taipei, on the other hand, remained at the 33rd spot, now just four spots higher than the Filipinas.