Gilas Girls' FIBA U18 Women’s Asia Cup: What It Means

The Bigger Wins Of The Gilas Girls’ FIBA U18 Women’s Asia Cup Division B Championship

Gilas Girls’ sweep of the 2024 FIBA U18 Women’s Asia Cup Division B is a major victory for women’s hoops in the country. Here’s why. 

Following a 95-64 blowout over Lebanon on Sunday, the Gilas Pilipinas Girls’ U18 squad has officially swept the 2024 FIBA Women’s U18 Asia Cup Division B in Shenzhen, China to cap off a dominant one-week run.

After a close first quarter, the Nationals pulled away early into the second period which sealed the contest in their favor. By the second half, they would enjoy up to a 41-point cushion as they cruised to the championship and earned an elusive Division 1 promotion.

Simply put, this is another milestone for Philippine women’s basketball. Here are four reasons why. 

Breakthrough and redemption

Counting the old FIBA format, 2024 is the first time a Gilas Girls’ squad has won the Asia Cup, finally exceeding the bronze medal finishes of the 70s, and in 2022 — the first crack at earning the Division 1 promotion. 

At the same time, Sunday’s victory is also redemption for the U18 program. After cruising through group play, the U18 girls of 2022 stumbled in the semis against Malaysia, relegating them to the bronze medal match and finish.

The 2024 squad also cruised through group play, headlined by their 141-18 thrashing of the Maldives. Only this time around, this batch finished the job against Samoa in the semis, and Lebanon in the finals. 

Three for three

The U18 promotion means that all Gilas Women’s programs are now in Division A. The seniors’ squad did it first in 2015, winning the Level 2 Women’s Asia Cup in Wuhan, China. Led by Ava Fajardo, the U16 squad followed in 2023, sweeping through that year’s U16 Women’s Asia Cup in Jordan. 

And then, of course, came Sunday’s win for the Gilas Girls’ U18 squad.

New challenges, new learnings

The 2026 U18 squad will now be grouped against regional powerhouses such as China, and back-to-back champs Australia. This will be a tall order, but it will also present new learning experiences for the next generation of hoopers.

“Getting promoted to Division A means they will get to test themselves against world-class opponents such as China, Australia, and Japan and this will better gauge to determine where our program is and what we need to improve on,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio said in a media release. 

Bright future ahead

All in all, the U18 run further assures that the Gilas Pilipinas Women’s squad is in safe hands. Even better, these young ladies will only get better as their amateur careers in high school and eventually, collegiate ranks continue. In addition, some are already overseas-based, which will be hugely beneficial for long-term development.

Now, here’s to hoping that we can build off all the progress that’s been made, including this U18 Women’s Asia Cup triumph.

Banner Image from Next Gen Hoops by FIBA on X.

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