Cabagnot predicts Duke's de Jesus will be first Pinay in WNBA


Posted at Jan 14 2021 06:22 PM

Duke freshman Vanessa de Jesus puts up a shot against Western Carolina University. Photo courtesy of Reagan Lunn, Duke Athletics

MANILA -- San Miguel veteran Alex Cabagnot has high expectations for Filipino-American guard Vanessa de Jesus, who turned heads in her abbreviated freshman season for Duke University.

On his Instagram stories, Cabagnot made a bold prediction: that de Jesus will become the first Filipina to make it to the WNBA.

Cabagnot also tagged de Jesus as "the future." 

The 18-year-old de Jesus is coming off a promising freshman campaign for the Blue Devils, where she averaged 12.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists while playing over 33 minutes per game.

But Duke's season was cut short due to health and safety reasons stemming from COVID-19. The team opted out of the NCAA season on December 26 after playing just four games.

Still, de Jesus appeared to be in high spirits. In a video posted on Fil-Am Nation Select — a program founded by Cabagnot and his cousin Cris Gopez to help Fil-Am prospects — she expressed her gratitude to those who cheered for her during her brief season.

"Thank you again for all the support back in the Philippines," said de Jesus. "I see it everywhere, and I'm so appreciative of it, I'm so grateful."

De Jesus was ranked 37th in her class by espnW. She played high school ball for Sierra Canyon School — the same school of LeBron James' son, Bronny — and was a finalist for California's Gatorade Player of the Year award in her senior year.

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