May 23, 2024

HER SIDE OF THE COURT | Love is in the air, women taking charge: Good news roundup for Filipinas in basketball

HER SIDE OF THE COURT | Love is in the air, women taking charge: Good news roundup for Filipinas in basketball
Art by One Sports

Fact: There's never enough good news when it comes to Filipinas in the world of sports.

1. Uratex Dream’s Kristina Deacon and FIBA professional dunker David Carlos are engaged

The towering and athletic Kristina Deacon was used to helping out her boyfriend, professional dunker David Carlos, with his routines. So when he asked her to hold a ball and stand underneath the rim at the Manila Hustle 3x3 Dunk Contest, the former Gilas Pilipinas Women member didn’t bat an eye.

Kristina was expecting a dunk. She got a proposal instead.

Behind the viral proposal is the sweet story of a couple that met during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their love that blossomed despite these difficult times. A basketball power couple and a lockdown romance with a happy ending? We love to see it!

2. Mariana Lopa joins TITAN with a focus on women’s basketball

Girls Got Game managing director Mariana Lopa, a respected leader and advocate for women, has joined TITAN as their head of women’s basketball and student athletes. A lawyer and former varsity for Ateneo de Manila University, Mariana has seen the challenges that women’s basketball players face from different angles.

“I came to know and became close to younger players—some current UAAP players, national team players, pros, etc.—and encouraged them to create names for themselves, pursue both on and off court opportunities, and become ambassadors for the game in their own rights,” says Mariana. “Through it all, I’ve been purposefully building bridges and making connections, all with the end in mind of growing the game.”

Mariana adds: “It’s a little ridiculous to me that TMG would create a role where I can do things that I’ve been doing for years without a title, association, or official position. It only goes to show the true investment that TITAN is making in the women’s game. They are creating spaces for us, for the love of the game.”

3. NBTC launches first-ever girls division in its return from hiatus

Many basketball players who have taken their talents internationally once played in the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) during their youth, from Kiefer Ravena to Kai Sotto. That is, the guys have. For many years, the competition focused on boys. Now, that is about to change.

Eight girls high school teams will now have the chance to showcase their talents in their upcoming tournament called Girls Have Next. The tournament director? None other than coach Mau Belen, the first female coach in the PBA.

"I’m excited to be a part of a project that is close to my heart which will give opportunities to showcase young girls' talents. Because of the NBTC and Fil-Nation Select collaboration and support, we are giving a chance to these girls' dreams,” Belen says.