WNBL gets significant interest after gaining pro status

WNBL executive vice president Rhose Montreal and league ambassadress Bea Daez-Fabros grace the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast.

Interest in the Women’s National Basketball League has grown ever since it was recently granted professional status by the Games and Amusements Board.

WNBL executive vice president Rhose Montreal said about 327 players have applied for next month’s draft while about 15 to 17 teams have inquired about joining the planned January start.

But Montreal said they want to make sure everything goes well in the WNBL’s first tournament as a professional league.

“We’re still in the process of evaluating, because now that we are a professional league, kailangan na po natin salain. Kailangan na po natin i-filter,” Montreal said in Tuesday’s online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

Montreal expects about 10 to 12 teams that will pass the grade for the WNBL season while the league continues to accept applications for the draft until Sept. 30.

The league will have a screening period from Oct. 1 to 10, followed by a draft combine under a bubble setup from Oct. 20 to 22 and a virtual draft on Oct. 30.

About 10 to 12 teams are expected to make the grade once the WNBL can begin its first pro season.

Bea Daez-Fabros, a former University of the Philippines and national team player who was named WNBL ambassadress, said the pro status of the WNBL has given female cagers an upbeat mood.

“It’s about time. For all female ballers this has always been a dream -- to have a pro league,” said Daez-Fabros. 

“There is zero apprehension among us female players. It’s been all excitement. Everybody is trying to get back in shape even from their homes. Even the older ones (in their forties) are coming out of retirement,” she added.