MANILA, Philippines -- Stars of the Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) can play their way into the women's national team pool, Gilas Pilipinas Women's coach Patrick Aquino said.
The WNBL's first professional season is back in full swing after pausing in August due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. They are currently holding games at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in Pampanga.
"Definitely, it would be a great addition for them to come in and show their wares, (show) that they deserve to play again for the national team," Aquino said Tuesday on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
Two of Aquino's players in the Gilas Women team that competed in the FIBA Women's Asia Cup also play in the WNBL -- center Clare Castro (Paranaque Lady Aces) and Khate Castillo (Glutagence Glow Boosters).
But Aquino assured that more WNBL players may be called up, especially now that the league is back to regular programming.
"'Yung WNBL is on and off, on and off, because of the pandemic," Aquino noted. "I think right now, they're ongoing again."
"Kasi wala tayong basketball ngayon sa college, so 'yun ang mga tinitingnan natin ngayon," he added.
Already, certain players are rising through the ranks and showcasing their games -- some of which have already played for flag and country before.
Raiza Palmera-Dy, Snow Peñaranda, and Allana Lim have been putting together impressive performances in recent games. Palmera-Dy, who plays for Glutagance, last Sunday exploded for 34 points on 10-of-21 shooting, while Peñaranda has been a double-double machine for Pacific Water Queens.
"I'm excited na nakikita ko ulit naglalaro sina Raiza Palmera, si Allana Lim, Snow Peñaranda, and those guys na you know, can really help the national team," Aquino said.
The likely issue will be scheduling, the coach noted.
"I just hope na the schedule for them can permit them to play for the national team," he said. "But sa akin, we are welcoming everybody that they think they can help the national team with open arms."