Mau Belen breaks barriers as newest TNT Tropang GIGA coaching staff member

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 30) — Mau Belen is breaking barriers as the first female coaching staff member in the Philippine Basketball Association.

Belen will be the newest team member of the TNT Tropang GIGA, after being hired by returning head coach Chot Reyes in his coaching training program.

Belen told CNN Philippines' The Final Word on Tuesday that she got excited upon receiving the invitation from Reyes to join the Manny Pangilinan-owned franchise.

"I'm always excited to open the door for more deserving women to be part of one of the biggest leagues in the country," Belen said.

Prior to her TNT stint, Belen coached a collegiate team in Dubai in 2017 and also helmed the Philippine National Police women's basketball team in 2019. She is also one of the organizers of the 30th Southeast Asian Games basketball tournament.

Belen hopes her trailblazing milestone will help solve the gender inequality among coaches in the country.

"The inequality is in our face. To all the women there, keep pushing and keep doing what you love to do. Even if no one's watching, just keep working hard," Belen said.

On the future of women in Philippine basketball, Belen expressed her desire to have more international female coaches who will guide current and aspiring Filipina basketball mentors. She hopes this move will also pave way for more Filipina-foreign players to represent the country in international competitions.

"It's just the chance that we need to have and the trust of the people that has power to put us there in the spotlight," Belen emphasized on what Filipinas need to further excel in the international basketball scene.