Pushing for pro women’s cage league

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    FORMER Philippine women’s national basketball team coach Haydee Ong is convinced a pro league for Filipina cagers is long overdue.

    “It will be of great help for women ballers to extend their playing career after their collegiate stint,” Ong told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday. “This would lead to the improvement of basketball skills and experiences that will lead to a bigger pool for our national team.”

    Headed by controversial former PBA marketing head Rhose Montreal, the Women’s National Basketball League, the women’s counterpart of the regional National Basketball League, has reportedly submitted the needed requirements to turn pro to the Games and Amusements Board.

    GAB chairman Abraham Mitra could not be reached for comment yesterday but Gilas women tactician and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas program director for women Pat Aquino said a maiden women’s hoops pro league has long been in the works.

    The plan, however, hit a snag due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

    “That (women’s pro league) was the program that we’re supposed to install this year, kaya lang nangyari iyong pandemic. But sabi namin let’s go back small muna ulit,” Aquino said in the Coaches Unfiltered podcast presented by SMART and supported by Mighty Sports and Choi Garden.

    Ong, who called the shots for the Philippine women’s five from 2008 to 2014, said the new league, if it pushes through, should learn lessons from the Women’s Philippine Basketball League that folded in 2008.

    “I think the players should consider that if there will be another commercial league for women, first, they should not ask for big salaries at the onset if the league is just starting. Let us try to help the sponsors with their budget,” said Ong.