Animam, Bernardino, Castro push for creation of women’s league in PH
MANILA, Philippines—Women’s basketball has travelled leaps and bounds in just a few days in 2019.
From Dec. 2 to Dec. 10, the Gilas Women’s National Basketball Team collected the gold medals in both the 3×3 and 5×5 formats of the basketball events in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Yet there are more to be expected from the women athletes who stamped the Philippines’ mark in the region’s sporting landscape.
Jack Danielle Animam, Afril Bernardino, and Clare Castro supported the idea of having a professional basketball league for women basketball players in the country.
The three were part of the gold medal winning team for the 3×3 tournament, together with Janine Pontejos, and also of the 5×5 squad that also took the title in the 2019 SEA Games.
“We really want to have a women’s league here in the Philippines, because there’s so much talent. It’s just that there’s no avenue to show people,” Animam told So She Did podcast in Filipino.
So She Did S01E05: Jack Animam's send offThey won two golds each during the 2019 SEA Games? SO SHE DID!Martie Bautista and Trina Guytingco are joined by Gilas Women's Jack Animam, Afril Bernardino, and Clare Castro.Jack's farewell is on right now!#SmartAko #LabanPilipinas
Posted by Tiebreaker Times on Sunday, July 12, 2020
“We have to go overseas to play, if possible we hope that we can stay here and play,” added Animam, who will play for Shih Hsin University in Taiwan in the University Basketball Association.
Bernardino, who also played overseas with Hatchers Valkyries in the Malaysian Women’s Basketball League, backed the idea of a small professional league since there are a lot of women’s basketball players who see their careers stopped after playing in college.
“We can start with a small professional league for women’s basketball because after college there’s no more avenue for us to play in,” said Bernardino. “How about the girls who really love basketball, who are passionate about the sport, what will happen to them after college?”
“Even if it’s not the same as the PBA, at least we have a league for women’s basketball here in the Philippines that can entertain and an opportunity for us to continue our passion,” added Bernardino.
Animam and Bernardino are both members of the National University program that won six straight titles in the UAAP.
Castro, considered as Animam’s rival in the UAAP while playing for FEU, said that the only way for a women’s basketball player to continue her career is to play for the national team but there’s only a select few who get that opportunity.
“We really want to have a professional league because after college there’s no next step apart from the national team” said Castro. “But not everyone gets to be part of the RP [Republic of the Philippines] team so their talents are wasted because there’s no league after college.”
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