Starting the future now will entail growing pains, and that was made evident in the Philippines' 91-point loss to China, 52-143, in the curtain-raiser of the 2021 FIBA Women's Asia Cup in Amman, Jordan, on Monday.
Head coach Patrick Aquino paraded two debutants for the Philippines in Ella Fajardo and Camille Clarin -- with the former, an incoming first-year player at Fairleigh Dickinson University, scoring six points, and the latter chiming in with three.
"Everybody has to have a new start and I think the Philippines is just looking forward to the future of young Filipina ballers, but the exposure that they'll be getting here will be a lot greater for us in the future," Aquino said after the game.
"So, bringing in young players at this point of time is probably the best time for the future of women's basketball in the Philippines."
China started quickly, going ahead by double-digits early on. Clarin's triple sliced the Philippines' deficit to single digits, 15-22, only to see the powerhouse unleash a 13-2 run to end the opening frame for a 35-17 lead.
China outscored the Gilas Women 34-12 in the second quarter, blowing the door wide open to lead by 40 at halftime, 69-29. China continued to dominate in the third quarter, posting 39 points while holding Gilas to nine for a 70-point advantage, 108-38.
The Filipinas' woes piled on in the final frame as primary playmaker Afril Bernardino went down with an ankle injury with 3:16 to play. She didn't return and still she was the lone Philippines player in double-figures with 17 points on top of seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Despite the rout at the hands of the No. 7 team in the world, the Gilas Women remain upbeat about their remaining matches against No. 3-ranked Australia and world No. 34 Chinese Taipei.
"Coach said that we played our hardest, but I know for a fact, I can speak on behalf of the team, that we have more to bring and we just ask for your continued support because we have more in us," Fajardo said, preaching patience as this is the first real competition for the national team no thanks to the pandemic.
China's Yang Liwei led the game in scoring with 21 markers, five dimes and five steals; she had seven teammates also in double-digits.
CHINA (143) -- Yang L 21, Li YR 18, Han 17, Li Y 13, Zhang 13, Li YF 13, Yang H 11, Wang 10, Huang 9, Pan 9, Wu 7.
PHILIPPINES (52) -- Bernardino 17, Pontejos 7, Prado 6, Fajardo 6, Nabalan 5, Castro 5, Castillo 3, Clarin 3, Cabinbin 0, Tongco 0, Pingol 0, Cayabyab 0.
Quarter Scores: 35-17, 69-29, 108-38, 143-52.
China, with an average height of 6-foot-1 compared to Gilas' 5-foot-6, gobbled up the rebound battle, 55-23.
The Philippines committed 24 turnovers which turned into 34 points for the Chinese.
Philippines vs. Australia on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 12 a.m.
China vs. Chinese Taipei on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 9 p.m.