No pressure for Fil-Am WNBA prospect Chanelle Molina

Published February 25, 2021, 8:33 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Photos from Washingston State University Cougars’ website

Filipino-American cager Chanelle Molina admitted not feeling any pressure despite the spotlight given to her ahead of the WNBA training camp.

The Hawaii-born Molina is expected to join the 2012 WNBA champions Indiana Fever with a training camp contract after finishing her stint with the Norrköping Dolphins in the Svenska Basketligan Dam in Sweden.

“I feel like the game of basketball… I grew up playing it. I eat and breathe it. I’m very confident in my ability as a basketball player,” said Molina during a global media availability recently. “I’m super excited to showcase what I got. I don’t really feel that much pressure. If anything, I just feel very excited. I feel very excited to showcase [my skills] and really represent everyone.”

Molina is the first and the closest full-blooded Filipino basketball player to make it into the WNBA, having been born and raised to Filipino parents in Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

But before her first professional league in Sweden, the 5-foot-9 Fil-Am was known for being one of the statistical leaders of the Washington State University Cougars, which compete at the Pac-12 Conference in US NCAA Division I.

At Washington State, the Kona-native baller averaged 12.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.0 assists to lead the Cougars’ in statistical points.

In her senior year alone, Molina led the Pac-12 in minutes per game at 35.7 for a total of 1,070 in 30 games, making it the second-most played minutes in a single season in WSU history

Molina’s career-high of 33 points came from an 82-73 victory over then-No.9 UCLA Bruins when she still a freshman. At that time, she fired 13-of-20 from the field goal to go with seven assists and five rebounds.

“That was my one big breakthrough game. I scored 33 points we won the game and so I was like okay, I was at that point that I was like I can actually be good in college and have a really good career,” added Molina, who eventually suffered a torn ACL against the Arizona State a week later earning the Women’s National Freshman Player of the Week honors.

In high school, Molina was ranked a five-star recruit and the 11th-best guard in the 2016 class as a product of Konaweana High school after becoming a two-time state champion and a three-time Gatorade State Player of the Year.

Before graduating, Molina led KHS to a state championship with an impressive 33-1 record, averaging 19 ppg, 8 rpg and 7.6 apg, and was eventually inducted into the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Hall of Honor in 2016.