THERE are Filipina hoopers in the United States-National Collegiate Athletic Association (US-NCAA) Women’s division.
And with every dribble, jumper and layup, these Pinays, half or full-blooded, also fly the flag in an attempt to make the basketball-mad Philippine nation proud.
That being said, The Manila Times listed down some of the Filipina cagebelles, who are strutting their wares in the US-NCAA Women’s basketball.
The Ivy League’s 2020 to 2021 season might have been canceled, but there’s a promising Filipina-American playing there.
In her rookie year, Kayla Padilla, 20, impressed and finished the 2019 to 2020 season by scoring 23 double-digit scoring games, including 12 20-point performances. The 5’9” guard also nailed 73 three-pointers, the fourth-most in a season in University of Pennsylvania’s program history.
At season’s end, Padilla led the Penn Quakers with 17.4 points per game second in the league and sixth nationally among all freshmen. Rightfully, Padilla, who also registered 2.4 assists and 2.1 boards, bagged the Rookie of the Year plum and made the First Team All-Ivy.
Born to Filipino parents, the Molina sisters Celena and Cherilyn both play for the Washington State University Cougars, which competes in the Pac-12 Conference.
Celena, 22, is the older between the two siblings. Sparingly used, the 5’9” Celena appeared in six games so far in her junior year, tallying two points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal in 21 minutes of total action.
Meanwhile, the 5’6” Cherilyn, 21, gets more playing time with 17.7 minutes over 15 games. Also a junior, Cherilyn is putting up 5.8 points and 2.0 rebounds.
Celena and Cherilyn’s ate (older sister) Chanelle just signed a training camp contract on Tuesday with the Indiana Fever. She could become the first Filipina to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Celena, Cherilyn and Chanelle actually led Konawaena High School to two titles, and they became teammates too in Washington for two seasons. Chanelle just graduated last year.
Alexis Mark and Vanessa de Jesus
Alexis Mark and Vanessa de Jesus’ careers will forever be intertwined, having been the lethal duo for the Sierra Canyon High School for three seasons. In their final year, Mark and de Jesus led the Trailblazers to the Open Division Championship title last year.
However, the duo took separate paths in college with Mark, 19, committing to Boise State University and de Jesus, 19, to Duke University.
Billed as an all-round player, the 6’ Filipino American (Fil-Am) Mark has been averaging 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.3 steals for the Broncos in the Mountain West Conference.
Meanwhile, de Jesus’ rookie year this 2021 season was cut short with the Blue Devils begging off from participating in the Atlantic Coast Conference for health reasons amid this Covid-19 pandemic.
Still, the talented, 5’8” Filipina point guard showed promise for Duke, tallying 12.0 points, 3.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds in four games.
Last but not the least is Malia Bambrick of the Pepperdine University Waves in the West Coast Conference.
Also a blue-chip recruit, the Fil-Am Bambrick, 21, started her US-NCAA career on a high note, making the Alll-West Coast Conference Freshman team in 2019. The 5’10” guard then became the second leading scorer of Pepperdine in her sophomore year with 10.4 points per game.
Padilla, Mark, de Jesus and Bambrick are being eyed by Gilas Pilipinas Women’s coach Patrick Aquino to play for the national team.