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First-ever WNBL Draft to take place on Feb. 7

Women’s National Basketball League will hold its first-ever draft for its inaugural season as a professional league on February 7.

The draft will proceed through a virtual conference as teams begin the process of forming their respective line-ups. There will be a lottery to determine the order of the draft and the release of the official list of draftees on Tuesday.

WNBL executive vice president Rhose Montreal said the draft was delayed due to the quarantine restrictions. Still, the league made full use of respite to laid out its plans for the 2021 season.

Montreal also said the WNBL has thoroughly evaluated the teams that applied to join the first season of the league as professional status. A total of 17 teams sent their intent to take part in the debut pro season, but only six passed the stringent requirements of the league.

“We are very careful now that we are a pro league already,” said Montreal. “We are really very careful on this because the financial capability of the team really matters [in] ensuring that players will be compensated well and commitment to the players will be delivered on time.”

Under the guidelines of the league, teams can avail of the ‘protect six’ rule in which they directly sign players without them going through the draft. However, teams will lose the right to select in the draft from the first to sixth round depending on the number of their direct-hire players.

Aside from the six teams, the Go For Gold Lady Sailors will also see action in the first season of the WNBL pro as a guest team and will have no draft picks.

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Last December, the WNBL held a draft combine to allow the teams to further evaluate the draftees seeking to make history and become part of the first-ever women’s professional basketball league in the country.

The draft combine took place at the Victoria Sports Center in Quezon City under strict health and safety protocols, and with the supervision of the Games and Amusements Board and clearance from the local government unit.

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