MANILA – A total of 177 female basketball players made the cut in the official Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) pool on Tuesday.
Some former national team players were included in the final pool that will get a chance to play in the WNBL’s second season, its first as an officially recognized professional league.
Headlining the former Nationals is Gemma Miranda, who was part of the Gilas Pilipinas Women’s team that played in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.
The 25-year-old forward was included in the Gilas Women’s roster in last year’s Southeast Asian Games but was eventually ruled out due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Also joining the former Philippine squad members are shooting guard Raiza Dy, point guard Angelie Gloriani, center April Lualhati, and forwards Camille Sambile, Mary Joy Galicia, and Marites Gadian, among the oldest players in the pool at age 38.
Fille Claudine Cainglet, the younger sister of volleyball star Fille Saint Merced Cainglet-Cayetano, also cracked the final draft pool.
Former Ateneo center Tina Deacon is the tallest in the pool being the only six-footer.
Deacon played in the inaugural staging of the WNBL last year before it was sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board.
The WNBL moved to have all who played last season to undergo the draft.
The 177 players were chosen from a whopping 702 ballers who declared for the inaugural draft.
“We filtered the players by the years they played on, their character reference, and also social media,” WNBL commissioner Bujoy Magno said Tuesday night on how the league trimmed the pool.
Edward Aquino, the NBL’s head of basketball operations, later said age also became a huge factor.
“Maraming underaged (Many were underaged),” said Aquino, a former referee in the Philippine Basketball Association, baring that there was a draft applicant who is taller than Deacon at six-foot-one but is just 17 years old.
The 177 players will undergo a draft combine, which will take place right after the NBL finishes its third season inside a bubble at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando City, Pampanga. (PNA)