Allana Lim: Blazing a trail for Filipina ballers
MANILA, Philippines – For the past 8 years, former Philippine women's basketball team standout Allana Lim has been living the life of a jetsetter.
After leading the FEU Lady Tamaraws to the title and winning the MVP award in the UAAP in 2012, Lim has been an in demand import in different basketball leagues in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.
"There was a team which was looking for someone to replace their import who was not performing well due to an injury," Lim said of her first stint as import in Malaysia.
Lim joined KL Ruby in place of Australian import Jessica Fergus and immediately showed the team they made the right decision when she tallied 25 points and 10 boards in her very first game.
The versatile 5-foot-10 power forward played in Malaysia at a time when Philippine women's basketball was still not considered the best in the Southeast Asian region.
The pressure to perform well was a constant for Lim, who felt she always had to prove that she could do just as good or even better than imports from Western countries.
"I just kept telling myself that they got me because they knew I could play. So I felt I really had to perform. My motivation was the thought that I was not only carrying my name but I was also representing the Philippines," she said.
"I made sure that on and off the court, I got along with my teammates because I wanted them to get a good impression of players from the Philippines."
This initial foray in the international scene eventually led to more doors opening for Lim.
"There was a time when I would come home to the Philippines after a contract in one league, then after 3 days, I would leave again because I had to play in another league overseas," Lim said.
Lim has since been a fixture in Malaysia and Indonesia, where she has mother clubs.
In 2018, she had the opportunity to play for NS Matrix in the Malaysia Women's Basketball League and go up against current Gilas Women stalwarts Afril Bernardino and France Mae Cabinbin, who also served as imports.
Lim has also played in a tournament in Singapore.
Last year, she starred for Iso Kite in the maiden season of the Nepal Women's Basketball League. She proved to be unstoppable as she scored 28 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in a 72-60 victory over the Saipal Academy in just her second game.
At the end of the tournament, Lim – although unable to lead her team to the title – emerged as the league's top scorer.
She also came close to playing in the Australian Women's National Basketball League but she was not guaranteed roster spot, turning down an offer to be a practice player.
The idea of being away from family and friends as she plied her trade abroad was something that did not daunt Lim as she found herself being able to adapt fast to new culture, cuisine, and people.
"I have always been independent from the time I was in high school, so I guess that helped me adjust to the different environment I encountered abroad."
Lim has seen firsthand how Filipina players compare to those from different countries.
"Players from the Philippines are definitely more skilled and athletic. Those from other countries are not as shifty and creative as the players we have here. But what they lack in skills and athleticism, they make up for in fundamentals and adherence to the team system. You can really see their discipline. They move the ball well, make the extra pass, and play as a team," she said.
Now an assistant coach for the UST Growling Tigresses, Lim is also part of Discovery Perlas slated to join the inaugural season of the Asian Women's Basketball League, which is patterned after the ASEAN Basketball League.
The likes of Bernardino, Cabinbin, Gemma Miranda, Andrea Tongco, and Mary Joy Galicia have earned roster spots with different clubs overseas even before Thirdy Ravena and Ken Tuffin signed with teams abroad. Gilas Women pillar and UAAP MVP Jack Animam will be joining the Shih Hsin University in Taiwan.
Before them, Lim blazed a trail and helped open the eyes of foreign scouts that Filipina players have what it takes to excel even against bigger and tougher competition. – Rappler.com