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Women's basketball takes centerstage in Terre De Jeux PH leg

Women's basketball became the focal point of the Terre De Jeux Philippine leg. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—French ambassador to the Philippines Michele Boccoz did not waste time in choosing basketball as the sport in focus for the Philippine stop of the Terre De Jeux.

The Terre De Jeux is a joint collaboration of multiple French embassies across the globe to celebrate France's upcoming hosting of the 2024 Summer Olympics.

"Since I arrived in Manila, I saw that Filipinos are into sports and basketball is almost like a religion! I always see a basketball court near the church wherever I go! So as we join the global relay from one time zone to another, we thought of featuring basketball as the sport most representative of the Philippines," Boccoz said on Tuesday during the Terre De Jeux Philippine leg itself at the new University of the Philippines College of Human Kinetics gym here.

However, as part of the celebration of International Women's Month, the female ballers of UP and Ateneo took centerstage in what was supposed to be a friendly match.

Both the Lady Maroons and the Blue Eagles, though, treated the game as if it was a UAAP game, and the supposed friendly became an intense preseason tune-up game.

In the end, UP stunned Ateneo, 72-70, behind a furious second-half comeback.

"We take it seriously sa game namin. Tune-up game lang ito, pero hindi namin tini-treat na friendly lang. Tini-treat namin na serious yung game para makita namin kung anong pwedeng ma-improve ng team," Lady Maroon Christie Bariquit explained why they decided to go toe-to-toe with the Blue Eagles.

Despite the defeat, Ateneo coach LA Mumar expressed gratitude for being chosen to be part of the early Paris Olympic celebrations.

"It's an honor for us to represent Ateneo and also the Philippines with this. It's a great opportunity to represent the school and also women's basketball.," Mumar told Dugout Philippines in a separate interview.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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