MANILA – Philippine women’s basketball veterans Allana Lim, 34 and Raiza Palmera-Dy, 32 are grateful to get opportunities beyond the collegiate and national team levels through 3x3.
Lim and Palmera-Dy are part of the Discovery Perlas contingent that will be flying to Nha Trang, Vietnam on Wednesday night to compete in the VBA 3x3 Prime women’s tournament.
“For me, personally, I feel na magandang opportunity ‘to for me, kasi akala ko after 5-on-5, national team, college, and the professional league, wala nang susunod for girls,” Palmera-Dy said on Monday shortly after the squad’s practice session at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Quadricentennial Pavilion.
“Noong nabigyan ako ng opportunity to play, sabi ko, why not? It’s a new experience for me.”
Lim, who concurrently serves as an assistant coach for the UST Growling Tigresses under head coach Haydee Ong, brought Palmera-Dy to the Discovery roster, convincing her to continue her hoops career.
“Hindi (siya) makaka-hindi sa akin,” Lim joked. “Sasabihin ko, ‘Laro ka.’ One call away, o-oo agad siya.”
Lim and Palmera-Dy go a long way back. Both saw action for Far Eastern University, which won back-to-back UAAP women’s basketball titles from 2011 to 2012 as they took turns capturing Finals MVP awards.
Both stalwarts also shared the floor together for the Gilas Women national team in several tourneys.
The 5-foot-9 Lim averaged 15.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, leading the Philippines to a historic Division A promotion in the 2015 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in China.
They would eventually win the SEABA women’s championship in Malaysia together back in 2016, where Lim was named to the All-Tournament five.
Historically, female basketball players in the Philippines accept the reality of having to retire early after their collegiate careers or venture into corporate jobs after graduation.
But the steady rise of the 3x3 discipline in the country over the past decade, as well as leagues for women sprouting left and right, have significantly expanded the landscape.
Lim is only one of many female players who are thankful to continue their journey inside the hardcourt.
“We are very grateful for our management. Nabigyan kami ng opportunity ulit makapaglaro doon and to represent our country,” she said. “We are very lucky kami ang mag rerepresent ng bansa doon.”
A mother of three, Palmera-Dy feels the challenge of mastering 3x3 is also a reinvigorating experience at this juncture of her career and personal life.
“It’s totally different, kailangan split second, you have to make a decision, mas quick ang ball movement,” the 5-foot-6 guard said.
“Magandang experience sa akin ‘yung Manila Hustle (last February). First international ko siya for 3-on-3. I gained experience from there.”
The duo will be joined by Filipino-Guamanian Joylyn Pangilinan and former Ateneo Blue Eagle Hazelle Yam. UST lead assistant Jude Paulite will coach them from the sidelines in the seven-team, FIBA 3x3 Level 5 women's tournament -- a first for the VBA.
Discovery is one of two foreign clubs joining, the other being Sniper of Thailand. The five local teams which shall try to give the visitors fits are the Saigon Heat, Can Tho Catfish, Phu Tho, Lanh Binh Thang, and Ha Noi.
Lim thinks the Perlas selection has better cohesion and familiarity with the 3x3 game heading into the competition, as they have been training six days in a week. She is thus confident about their chances.
“So far, so good. I think this time mas kapa na namin ‘yung dynamics ng laro ng 3x3. It’s a mind game. Sobrang laki ng difference ng paglaro ng 5-on-5 sa 3-on-3 and at the same time, sobrang nakakapagod. Utakan talaga,” Lim said.
More importantly, the squad understands its role in being continuously involved in the ever-growing regional women’s basketball scene through tune-up games with several national teams.
“At the same time, to play for Discovery, para rin siya makatulong (sa Gilas Women at Vietnam) this coming SEA Games, as preparation, pre-game nila for the SEA Games.”