Many expected Monique Del Carmen to be one of the top picks in the first-ever Women’s National Basketball League Draft.
Coming from the National University program, the 5-foot-6 winger has the pedigree and the UAAP Season 82 Finals Most Valuable Player plum to back her credentials up.
But as league executive vice president Rhose Montreal announced each pick, Del Carmen’s name was not mentioned.
“Sobra ‘yung kaba ko, kasi ilang rounds na lang matatapos na ‘yung drafting,” the 22-year-old recalled.
“Super kinabahan talaga ako. Naalala ko pa ‘yung kaba hanggang ngayon.”
It took until the ninth round before Del Carmen heard her name. She ended up being the 25th overall pick and going to Pacific Water.
Del Carmen does not know the reason why she dropped so hard in the draft.
Though coming from an ACL tear back in February of 2020, she still performed well in the Combine last December – even netting a vertical leap of 26-inches.
“I don’t know really know the reason talaga, siguro sa ACL? Not sure talaga,” said Del Carmen, who averaged 4.38 points, 3.13 assists, and 1.81 rebounds in her final year in NU.
“But all my life I’ve always been underestimated and have always had to prove my worth.”
Still, Del Carmen refuses to let the unexpected selection dampen her parade.
“Sobrang saya! Dream come true! Totoo na siya, sobrang saya talaga na may liga na kami!”
Now, Del Carmen is back in a position that has been unfamiliar with her for the last five years – being an underdog.
It’s a role she is willing to embrace as she tries to prove the teams that passed on her wrong.
“Hindi naman bago for me yung nangyari. Sabi ko nga I’ve always been underestimated kahit nung nasa NU pa ako,” said Del Carmen, as she had to work her way up in the Lady Bulldogs hierarchy in her five years there.
“It’s just another day in my life that I have to work harder than everyone else. And I’m always ganado naman, lalo na hindi ako nakapag-basketball ng mga ilang months.”