Meet these 14-year-old Fil-Canadian basketball stars dominating the court and our hearts
Fil-Canadian basketball duo Alyssia Palma and Demicah Arnaldo have dominated not only the local courts but also our Pinoy hearts.
These 14-year-olds from Holy Cross Regional High School and St. Thomas More Collegiate, respectively, are slowly making their mark after both came down to Los Angeles in May and earned their spots in the Gilas Pilipinas Women team to represent the Philippines at the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship.
They then flew to Amman, Jordan, where they defeated Hong Kong, the Maldives, and host country Jordan in the group stages and continued their run against Malaysia and Iran to win a historic gold medal in the Division B tournament. This also led to the team being promoted to Division A for the upcoming tournament in 2025.
Gilas Youth lineup U16
• Arnaldo, Demicah
• Canindo, Sophia Anne
• De Jesus, Isabella
• De La O, Ariel Star
• Fajardo, Ava Camryn
• Mercado, Scarlett
• Palma, Alyssi
• Nair, Ryan
• Navarro, Naima
• Lapasaran, Ma. Christina
• Sayson, Kimi
• Smith, Nevaeh#SBP 📸 pic.twitter.com/yzJNMX33FS
— RMN Sports (@RMNSportsCenter) July 8, 2023
For Palma, the joy of playing basketball transforms the court itself where the connections and community it holds inspire her to do her best.
“The thing that I enjoy most about playing basketball is the community behind it. Through the sport, I’ve been able to meet so many new friends from different teams from all over, many of which have become my best friends.”
Her coach from Holy Cross, Randy Mangalindan said, “I first coached Alyssia when she was in grade 4 during a 3×3 tournament. For the past two years, I assisted in coaching her in grades 8 and 9 at Holy Cross where we won the grade 8 provincial championship and finished seventh earlier this year at provincials. She always had ‘it’.”
🏀 BASKETBALL | 2023 FIBA U16 Women's Asian Championship
▪ Team Philippines 🇵🇭 is our Division B 🏆Champion! Team Philippines 🇵🇭 is promoted to Division A for the next edition after beating Iran in Division B finals on Sunday (Jordan Time),83-60. A BIG Congratulations!
📷 FIBA pic.twitter.com/Y83P42DvYf
— SEA Sports News (@sea_sports_news) July 16, 2023
While the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship in Amman, Jordan ended last month, Arnaldo’s journey is far from over. Winston Brown, her coach from St. Thomas More, has so much belief in her.
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“As a coach who has had the privilege of coaching some of the best point guards this province has seen, I believe Demicah has the skills, talent, drive, and character necessary to be an amazing player,” he said.
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Although Australia ultimately snagged the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship 2023 title, these two played with skills that’s nothing short of exceptional.
With Palma as forward scoring a total of 8 points and Arnaldo as point guard achieving 5 points in their last game against Iran, they both showed their unwavering determination on the court. The Philippines thus shined as one of the favorite contenders this season.
Together, they dazzle as beacons of inspiration. We’re hoping to hear more of them in the basketball scene—and who knows, maybe we’ll even see them in the bigger leagues soon.