The Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) has been overwhelmed with the interest from Filipina cagers, especially those who have left an indelible mark in the local hoops scene.
National Basketball League (NBL) executive vice president Rhose Montreal said that decorated players Ewon Arayi and Allana Lim are some of those who have expressed their intention of being part of the league.
“Ewon talaga is really very much interested talaga to play; Allana is contemplating if she wants to join the WNBL — to help or to play,” she told Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast, which is powered by SMART and presented by San Miguel Corp. Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, MILO, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), with Upstream Media as webcast partner.
It has been a while since the last time Arayi saw action on the hardwood. Back in 2015, she was part of the Perlas Pilipinas crew that finished seventh in the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship in Wuhan, China.
Lim, meanwhile, has been actively playing since graduating from Far Eastern University, which she led to UAAP championships in Seasons 74 and 75 — her final year, where she won the MVP plum.
Lim, who was with Arayi in that 2015 Perlas squad, has been playing overseas since the end of her collegiate career, having had stints in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and in Nepal.
“Allana Lim, sabi niya talagang, ‘Ako, if you’re to ask me Ma’am Rhose, I really wanted to play. Pero dahil marami na ring bata, pwede nating pagbigyan siguro’,” Montreal shared.
“Pero gusto namin maramdaman ‘yung feeling na maglalaro kami pro league kasi natapos na ‘yung mga international competitions, pero ‘yung maglaro ka talaga sa sarili mong bansa… Iba ‘yung feeling.”
If ever these distinguished players decide to join the country’s first-ever women’s pro league, then they remain qualified as the age bracket for those who want to join the draft is 21-40 years old.
Arayi will turn 35 on November 5, while Lim will turn 32 on September 12.
The league initially planned to set the age requirement between 18-35, but many players have asked the league to reconsider. They agreed in order to help players realize their dreams of playing in a local women’s pro league.
“Actually po, nung first season, we’re looking at eighteen to thirty-five. And then nung nag-turn na tayo into pro, marami po talagang nagme-message sa atin, saying, ‘you know Ma’am Rhose, it’s really been our dream to play for a professional league, we hope that you would consider, like extending ‘yung age requirement,” said Montreal.
“So we made it at twenty-one to forty. But for me, if you’re forty-one, forty-two and you’re still willing to play, you still have the skills, or you’re still competitive, everybody’s welcome. Kasi we’re here naman to make their dreams come true.”