May 29, 2024

Ava Fajardo, Gilas Women U16 bent on completing redemption tour in FIBA Women’s Asian tilt

Ava Fajardo, Gilas Women U16 bent on completing redemption tour in FIBA Women’s Asian tilt

There is that notion in sports that says, before winning it all, a team or an individual must first experience a painful defeat.

So far, that holds true for Gilas Pilipinas Women’s under-16 team as it has been torching the competition in the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship 2023-Division B, which is being held in Amman, Jordan. On the way to the finals, the young Filipina hoopers have won all three of their games in dominant fashion, including a 144-22 humiliation of Maldives in the group phase, and the 79-44 shellacking of Malaysia in the semifinals.

According to Gilas ace Ava Fajardo, this is a by-product of the team’s thirst for redemption, which has been in her head for over a year.

“This is our redemption tour. We are fortunate to be given another shot at this and build upon our experience last year. We will make sure to handle our business," Fajardo explained in an article on the FIBA website.

In 2022, Gilas also had an unscathed run in the preliminaries, but was surprisingly turned back by an unheralded Samoan team in the semis. With the crushing loss, the Philippines lost its chance to be promoted to Division A. Luckily for the Philippine side, Fajardo took last year’s heartbreak in stride.

“I am very thankful to my coaches and teammates for trusting me to contribute to the team’s success. The experience that I had last year has definitely contributed a lot to my confidence on the court, especially being the veteran this year," said the younger sister of Gilas Women mainstay Ella Fajardo. The two sisters still work out together to improve their game

As a result, Ava, who’s averaging 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2.3 steals in the tourney, was able to lead the Philippine contingent to a finals berth this time around. Gilas and Iran will square off in the main event. On the line is promotion to the top level.

Before the semis, the 15-year-old expressed reassuring confidence in her team’s ability to get the job done.

“I believe our team has what it takes to get that Division A promotion this year! We have the right pieces to be successful. We are very focused on our goal, and we trust each other’s abilities,” Fajardo claimed.

Gilas will need that same amount of self-belief when the championship match tips off tomorrow, July 17, at 12:30 a.m.