Once a Perlas, always a Perlas
During the knockout game between the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigresses and the Adamson University Lady Falcons, former national team head coach Haydee Ong, who is now with UST, could not help but look over to the other side. Standing on the opposing end was her former player in Team Pilipinas’ Women’s Basketball team Ewon Arayi.
“Of course, I’m so proud,” Ong beamed. “She’s my former Perlas player.
“A Perlas will always be a Perlas for me.”
For years, Ong and Arayi, then just fresh off college, figured in numerous wars overseas. And it resulted to a SEABA tiara and two silver finishes in the SEA Games.
Arayi would continue to serve the national team while Ong had to take a backseat during the national team’s revamp in 2014.
Unfortunately, only one had to move on to the next rung of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Basketball stepladder. This time, it was the Growling Tigresses who were able to eke out a 78-69 win over the Lady Falcons.
Still, it was a job well done for Arayi, who in her first year steered the Lady Falcons back to the Final Four after missing the boat just a year ago.
“I’m so happy na ‘yung mga players ko sa Perlas are having their careers on their own,” added Ong.
With this, Ong hopes that there will be more women’s coaches in collegiate basketball. She knows that coaches like her, Arayi, Emelia Vega, Ai Lebornio, and Erika Dy can be at least at-par with their male counterparts.
“It’s about time we have more women’s coaches here in women’s basketball,” shared Ong, who has been in the coaching profession for the last 22 years.
“I think we’re not just given lang the opportunity but women coaches can do better, or do well as male coaches also.”
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