SHE GOT GAME: Meet Bea Daez, UAAP’s first female basketball analyst
Bea Daez (rightmost) was one of the original hosts on Upfront at the UAAP.
From the hardcourt, former UP Lady Maroon Bea Daez has brought her talents to the commentators’ booth, making history as the first-ever female basketball analyst of the UAAP, the most popular collegiate league in the land.
Bea officially went on board last September 17, where she covered the UE vs UP game with seasoned sports anchor Mico Halili. A former “Upfront at the UAAP” host, Bea isn’t a new face to UAAP fans, but her basketball know-how still impressed viewers who immediately tweeted their approval of ABS-CBN Sports’ choice for its newest basketball analyst.
One tweet from user @Ralphierce read, “Great to hear a woman break barriers & call a men’s basketball game in the Philippines.” Another user @austintourist said, “I honestly think @beadaez could go down as one of the best commentators ever. Potential is evident.”
For those who don’t know, Bea is a former Philippine National Team player and was an important cog in the UP Lady Fighting Maroons women’s basketball team. In her last playing season, she even led them to four straight wins despite wearing a face mask due to an injury. Her love affair with basketball, however, began a long, long time ago.
At age five, a young Bea Daez picked up a basketball at home, bounced it once, twice, and never looked back. “I grew up with seven brothers. So as a kid, I would play basketball with all of them. I wouldn't care if I was the only girl. Basketball runs in both sides of my family so I would always watch basketball and I guess it just grew into me. I started playing since I was Grade 1 and never stopped since,” she shared. As she grew up, Bea suited up for Assumption College, all the while dreaming to be a UAAP Courtside Reporter when she goes to college, not knowing that the basketball gods had something different in store for her.
Looking back on her first day as an analyst, Bea shared that she had the usual jitters anyone would have in her first day on the job. She was scared of running out of things to say or not being able to analyze the plays as well as she would’ve wanted. But through the support of colleagues turned mentors like Halili and her own #MambaMentality, she is slowly easing up to her new job.
“I try my best to watch all the games, regardless if I have a coverage,” she shared. “I always re-watch the last game of both teams playing. I would check their stats after the game, read up on all the articles about their previous game. I would then just try to compose some talk points that would stand out from the previous games and then think of them going against each other like keys to winning and the like,” she said.
Being the first-ever female analyst for UAAP basketball, Bea had immense pressure put on her shoulders, saying, “I want to make a good impression and set the standard high for all other aspiring female basketball analysts. For myself, I also wanted to show others that girls know their stuff about basketball despite it being a men-dominated sport. I always thought that if it could be done in the NBA, then why can't it be done in the UAAP?”
Wearing her analyst hat, Bea shared her thoughts on the current pace of the UAAP game, which she says has gone notches faster, making her keep her sentences concise to get her point across. “Sometimes, I'm thinking of a basketball term but it doesn't come out as fast as I'd want to. This is why I always try to watch even more basketball than I used to. After my day job, I would always read up during the night on articles about the teams. I would watch Dorris Burke to help me become less scared! Watch more basketball in general so I could widen my basketball jargon and vocabulary,” she shared.
When asked about the evolution of the game, Bea did not miss a beat, saying UAAP basketball has caught up with the NBA’s position-less basketball and emphasis on open three point shots.
“I think that's evident with all the high-scoring games this season. We see games going up to 100 points, which we don't see often given that we only play 40 minutes in the UAAP. At the same time, we see teams really focusing on their outside shot. Case in point would be Ateneo, the league's best 3 point shooting team. In their previous game vs Adamson, we saw even (Isaac) Go and (Chibueze) Ikeh showing their range,” she said
She shared that she appreciates gaining a new perspective of the game watching from the sidelines. As an analyst, Bea has been surprised with the recent stats movement in the UAAP, which has delved into the more scientific aspect of the game compared to during her playing days.
“I think this just lifts the level of competition in basketball even more, given that each team can address almost all aspects of the game, with statistics to back it up. It gives more opportunities for improvement for all the teams, given that they can look at all the details of their games,” she says.
Still, a baller will remain a baller forever, and Bea said she is not yet ready to hang up those sneakers yet. She hopes to play competitively again and live the day when women’s basketball get the attention it deserves in the country as a spectator sport.
“That's what I hope and pray for. There is so much talent in women's basketball and it would be great for everyone to notice that,” she said, sharing her desire to play for the flag again next year.
Bea, who also happens to be a certified public accountant, has defied odds all her life as a girl who is in love with basketball in a patriarchal society. Now that she has entered the commentators’ booth and making good of the opportunity given to her, she hopes to encourage others to pursue their own passion and make their mark, even when other people think they can’t do it.
“I've always told others that ‘girls can play ball too!’ So I guess it would be the same in terms of being an analyst,” she said.
Catch Bea Daez and the rest of the UAAP broadcast crew every Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays during gamedays. Weekend coverage starts at 1:30 pm with “Upfront at the UAAP” firing festivities off on S+A and S+A HD. For more information, stories, and schedules, visit ABS-CBN’s sports hub sports.abs-cbn.com and follow @ABSCBNSports on Facebook and Twitter.