December 11, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Fil-Am player joins Perlas Pilipinas’ training

DANIELA NOPUENTE, the all-time leading scorer of Westmoor High School in Daly City, California, is set to join Perlas Pilipinas in tomorrow’s training session.

Head coach Patrick Aquino confirmed the news to BusinessWorld as Ms. Nopuente, a Fil-Am guard, is set to arrive today from the United States and will be with the Philippine national women’s basketball team.

Ms. Nopuente is one of the key players of Our Lady of the Lake University Saints in Texas, averaging 7.6 points.

Perlas Pilipinas is currently preparing for two major international events -- the FIBA Asia Championship in India this July and the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia this August.

Named to the All-PAL North First Team and became the league’s Player of the Year, Ms. Nopuente joins a Perlas Pilipinas pool that has mainstays Allan Lim, Afril Bernardino, Arra Abaca, Cindy Resultan, Ambi Almazan, Janine Pontejos and Camille Sambile, among others.

But just like everybody else in the squad, Ms. Nopuente is not yet assured of a spot in the roster and needs to fight for a berth, according to Mr. Aquino.

“No one is assured yet of a spot, even Nopuente,” added the coach. “But I like what we’re seeing with the team now. We’ve introduced several new things that would enable us to work on our strength, speed and shooting.”

Perlas Pilipinas is the reigning Southeast East Asian Basketball Championship women’s champion and the team’s next target is to win the SEA Games gold medal.

Meanwhile, Dioceldo Sy, head of Perlas Pilipinas’ main supporter Blackwater, disclosed that they are now working to bring in Kelly Hardeman to become the team’s naturalized player.

Hardeman is a six-foot Filipino-American, who grew up in the Philippines before moving to the United States before she turned 18. She is now playing in the Euroleague for Denmark’s Amager where she averaged 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

Perlas Pilipinas will embark on a training in Malaysia against its national team and several other tune-up games in different universities there. The team leaves at the end of the month. -- Rey Joble