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Duke’s Vanessa De Jesus To Join Philippine National Team

Somebody’s about to have a good summer

Duke v Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA - FEBRUARY 19: Vanessa de Jesus #2 of the Duke Blue Devils handles the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena on February 19, 2023 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

This is pretty cool: Duke point guard Vanessa de Jesus will join Gilas Pilipinas and play for the Philippines in the upcoming FIBA Women’s Asia Cup next month in Australia (we think, but could be wrong, that both the men’s and women’s national teams are called Gilas Pilipinas).

Her new coach, Pat Aquino, said this: “Wow. Malaking bagay (big thing) for us. Not just for us in this tournament but for the program as well. Having a legit Division I player playing for the national team diba, sana may mag-follow na iba. ‘Yun naman ang goal natin.’ (yes, I hope someone else will follow. That’s our goal.)

“Vanessa will help us a lot in the guard position. She’s a big point guard and she can really compete against the best.”

The Philippines may not be the most successful national basketball program, male or female, but basketball in the Philippines is unimaginably popular. Even most Americans would be amazed at how big a deal the game is there.

It’s entirely possible, in fact, that de Jesus could end up playing in the Philippines after she finishes at Duke and possibly do better financially there than she might in the NBA. If she has a star turn in FIBA play, she’ll be a national hero.