The Philippine women’s basketball team’s strength will be tested today as the squad faces Qatar national team in the 5:30 p.m. game of the 1st PSC-SBP Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament at the West Negros University Gym.
Led by six-foot Cassy Tioseco, the Haydee Ong-mentored Filipinas will be up against the team that won the GCC Women’s Basketball Championship in Doha against Bahrain, April this year.
The match is expected to be a tough one for the Discovery Pelas Pilipinas squad as the Qataris will have in their lineup the high-scoring Warda Mourgam, who led her team against Bahrain in the final game of the GCC Championship.
In the game against Bahrain, Mourgam scored 18 points while getting the much-needed scoring support from Hayat Ali, who delivered 16 points and Amal Mohd, who finished the game with 9 points.
Playing in a familiar territory will be an advantage for the Filipinas, who arrived in Bacolod City last week to start their training for the Invitational Cup.
The Philippine national team has proven its mettle in the 2010 Southeast Asean Basketball when it routed Indonesia, 82-46, in the final game to capture the 7th SEABA Women Championship before a home crowd at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium last year.
Team manager Cynthia Tiu said the SEABA title was the fruit of hardwork and determination from the ladies whose common goal is to bring pride and honor to the country.
The Invitational Cup, she said, will serve as a tune up for the Discovery Perlas Pilipinas team in time for the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia.
Sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission in partnership with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the tournament opens today at the WNU Gym with China and Thailand clashing in the curtain-raiser at 3 p.m.
The opening ceremonies, set at 5 p.m., will have PSC Commissioner Joaquin “Chito” Loyzaga as guest of honor.
Meanwhile, after dueling with the Qataris today, the Philippine team will play against Thailand tomorrow at 5 p.m., then against China on Frinday. The championship game between the top two squads in the tournament will be played on Sunday.
Aside from Tioseco and UAAP veterans Pixie Villanueva and Joan Grajales, other member of the Discovery Perlas Pilipinas team are: Fatima Tolentino, Karen Lomogda, Diana Rose Jose, Merenciana Arayi, Mellisa Jacob, Aurora Adriano, Chovi Borja, Treena Ann Limgenco, Analyn Almazan, Ma. Lalaine Flormata, Angeli Jo Gloriani, Marites Gadian, and Bernadette Mercado.*NAB
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