After weeks and months of conducting Alaska Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Regional Selection to pick the best of the best from Baguio, Davao, Cebu and Manila, the top 50 boys and 24 girls from each regions were advanced to the final selection stage in National Training Camp at The Don Bosco Makati on April 22-24.
Day 1 was the National Training Camp Tip-Off Ceremony in which finalist had a chance to meet and train with NBA and WNBA legends Norris Cole of New Orleans Pelicans and Taj McWilliams, former Minnesota Lynx.
Training clinic was done on day 2 where boys and girls trained the proper basketball skills using proper body mechanics.
In the morning of day 3, scrimmages were held where in boys and girls were grouped into teams and were made to play sets of basketball games where they can apply all what they have learned from the basketball clinic in the morning and top 20 boys and 20 girls were chosen for the final game.
The afternoon session was held at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall and started with the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA Philippines Alumni games. I was astonished seeing the Alumni kids, they all grown up, taller and play now like a pro.
And after the Alumni games, final game for boys and girls. They were individually scored on how they play. They were scored on how they incorporated what they have learned from day 1 to day 3 of the Training Camp.
And after the Adrenalin-boosted game, deliberation were done. Picking the best of the best, including the top male and top female coaches. Also picked were some chosen individual who has distinct characteristic for the special awards.
HERE ARE THE WINNERS:
- CEBU – Darlene Regasajo
- CEBU – Florence Jil Talas
- MANILA – Ma. Cecilia Quilenderino
- DAVAO – Rozie Amatong
- DAVAO – Aloha Marie Betanio
- POWERCAMP – Julian Alfonso Jugo
- CEBU – Fritz Felix Valencia
- CEBU – Harold Alarcon
- POWERCAMP – Isaiah Miguel Blanco (son of Dondon Hontiveros)
- BAGUIO – Ric Ozner Gatuz
- MANILA – Andrei Philip Lechoncito
- CEBU – Tracy Carl Dadang
- MANILA – Jearico Nunez
- MANILA – Miguel Rey Luis Tan
- MANILA – Kai Zachary Sotto (son of Ervin Sotto)
The All-Star Team will travel overseas for their NBA experience trip together with fellow Jr. NBA All-Stars from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
COACHES OF THE YEAR:
PASIG – Arayi Ewon
DAVAO – Elegino Chollo
FEMALE: Carly Monreal
MALE: Victorino Torres III
FEMALE: Kate Buenaventura
MALE: Jericho Ross Paglinawan
ALL-STAR PLAYER OF THE GAME
FEMALE: Aloha Marie Betanio
MALE: Tracy Carl Dadang
FEMALE: Imee Claire Matas
MALE: Alfonso Candari
FEMALE: Rozie Amatong
MALE: Julian Alfonso Jugo
FEMALE: Florence Jil Talas
MALE: Kai Zachary Sotto
During the awarding ceremony, emotions are elated. Parents and kids are rejoicing and all smile but one kid caught my attention. He was Jearico Nunez, a boy from University of Perpetual Help System Dalta. He was called at the 8th place and as he rise to the stage, he was crying all throughout the ceremony.
Jericho is turning 14 years old this coming July. He resides from Cavite, member of an ordinary family, but because of his exemplary basketball skills, he became UPHSD’s basketball player. His NBA idol is Lebron James and dream to become a PBA cager in the future. As we talked to him, I find him so humble and respectful. We asked him why he was crying. He answered “Hindi ko po kasi akalain na papasok ako. Ang pangit po kasi ng performance ko today. Saka po ang yung mga kasama ko po sikat at galing sa magandang school… ako po simple lang, company worker lang po magulang ko.” I asked him if it is his first time to join Jr. NBA and he said yes. A co-writer told him “Alam mo ba si Kai third time nya na ito bago sya makuha. Ikaw, first time mo lang. So mas magaling ka sa kanya.” He just smiled. He is so humble, simple and naive. He didn’t know that he was on a top 3. He didn’t even know that the one who eyed him and approached him to give some advice and praised is none other than former Alaska PBA Star, Jojo Lastimosa. Maybe JoLas saw him what I saw since the training camp. I saw his perseverance and his heart. The heart of a basketball star! Watch for him. He may make it to the PBA.
More than 36,00 players and 2,700 coaches have participated in the program since it started in the Philippines in 2007. The Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA is the league’s global youth basketball participation program for boys and girls which teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents.
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Photo credit to Jr.NBA Asia FB