Pinay hoops icon Ewon Arayi contemplating WNBL stint

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 10 2020 05:41 PM

Ewon Arayi, who starred for Adamson in the early 2000s, is now the head coach of the Lady Falcons. But will she return to action and play in the WNBL? UAAP Media

MANILA, Philippines -- Ewon Arayi, a trailblazer of Philippine women's basketball, is apparently contemplating a return to action after the Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) was granted professional status.

Arayi was a longtime mainstay of the Philippine women's national basketball team before retiring in 2015. She has since returned to her alma mater to become the head coach of the Adamson University Lady Falcons.

Rhose Montreal, the executive vice president of the NBL, said that Arayi is seriously pondering coming out of retirement.

"Ewon is very much interested talaga," Montreal said during Tuesday's PSA Forum.

According to Montreal, it's not just Arayi who's looking to lace up their shoes again. Other members of the Discovery Perlas Pilipinas squad that represented the Philippines in 2007 to 2015 also wanted to join.

"They're just kind of out of shape already," Montreal admitted. "We're just waiting for them. Let's see."

Another name that Montreal mentioned is Far Eastern University icon Allana Lim, the UAAP Most Valuable Player in Season 74. After her graduation, Lim took her talents abroad, playing as an import in leagues in Malaysia and Nepal.

"Allana is contemplating if she wants to join the WNBL to help, or to play," Montreal said. "Sa mga senior, ex-national team, doon sila nagko-contemplate. Are we joining to help, or to play?"

Former University of the Philippines star Bea Daez-Fabros, the ambassador of the league, said that Lim has expressed her desire to play in the local league.

"Despite playing (in Malaysia), she said if there's a pro league here, she'll choose to play here because there's nothing like playing at home," said Daez. "Other imports, if you all ask them, they're all part of the national team as well and their heart is really with the Philippines."

If Arayi does decide to come out of retirement and play in the WNBL, she will be welcomed with open arms as the league allows players from 21 to 40 years old.

Arayi is 34 years old, and will be 35 when the WNBL opens its first professional season in January 2021.

"As long as you're competitive and you can live up to the game, everybody's welcome," Montreal assured.