BANGKOK, Thailand (21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women): Two years ago in front of a home crowd at the 20th FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women at Surat Thani, Thailand U18 girls defeated their Kazakhstan counterparts in the Level I Qualifying Game to enter what they thought they deserved – a place in the Elite Level I.
As a matter of fact, Thailand were the only team that went through the entire competition unbeaten.
But soon after the Thailand NF went through a process of rebuilding and renovation – even facing a FIBA suspension for a brief period of time – and now the girls of this traditional SEABA powerhouse of women’s basketball are all set to prove exactly that at the 21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women to be played in Johor Bahru (Malaysia) from Sept 29-Oct 6.
There is only one player in the current training squad who has carries the experience of the Surat Thani – Mina Pattamawan – but then having even one such player can be considered a luxury in age group competitions.
Thailand are pitted against East Asian powerhouses China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea along SEABA archrivals Malaysia in the Elite Level I of the competition at Johor Bahru and face an uphill task in reaching the semifinals or clinching a place in top three which will earn them a ticket to the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women to be played in Lithuania.
But for starters, the Thai girls will be out to prove that they do belong to Level I.