Philippines first women's pro hoops league eyes January 2021 debut
Inaugural WNBL champions Air Force
Facebook/NBL Pilipinas

Philippines first women's pro hoops league eyes January 2021 debut

Luisa Morales (Philstar.com) - September 2, 2020 - 1:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — The country's first-ever women's pro basketball league is charging full-speed ahead.

The Women's National Basketball League (WNBL), tied to also recently turned-pro men's league NBL, is planning to premiere pro women's hoops as early as January 2021.

Though stymied by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the second season of the WNBL — this time as a professional league — is expected to make a revamped comeback.

"We will be resuming games na for the WNBL," said NBL Executive Vice President Rhose Montreal in a Zoom interview with Philstar.com.

"We'll do something in the [NBL] bubble and after that we'll hold the draft and then we'll open the second season, as a pro league, in January 2021," she said.

WNBL to welcome older ballers

The league earlier announced that it will hold a draft in October.

And Montreal said the newly minted pro league will be nothing but welcoming to female ballers across the country -- even those who might have gone past their prime.

"Binuo rin natin itong WNBL kasi yung clamor ng mga collegiate players that after college, wala nang aspiration," Montreal said.

"When it comes to age requirement... for me, as long as they can play, let's welcome them," she said.

Though NBL commissioner John Edward Aquino put the cap at 40, Montreal believes that it could be extended even more.

Interested women hoopers who want to join the WNBL draft can do so by applying for the draft online.

"Within the week, we're going to post the draft form on our FB page, and they can just simply download it, fill it up [and] send it to us through email," Montreal said.

In its first season, the WNBL featured seven teams, the Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, Taguig Lady Generals, Pampanga Delta Amazons, and the Cleon and Clyde Lady Snipers.

Air Force won the inaugural title.

Teams who already have a current roster may only retain six of their players while all others will need to enter the draft along with other interested ballers.

Montreal revealed that along with the seven teams who have already played in the first season of the WNBL, many potential team owners have expressed desire to put up more squads for the women's league.

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