Early in the morning of April 21, two-time champion and six-time WNBA All Star Taj McWillliams-Franklin visited with children of H.J. Atienza Elementary School in the heart of Manila’s port area as part of the NBA Cares outreach program.
“It’s our way of sharing and giving back,” said NBA Philippines President Carlo Singson in his opening remarks that kicked off the morning. McWilliams-Franklin was all smiles as she greeted the children before moving on to a staple of NBA Cares: Read to Achieve. As McWilliams read aloud from a storybook, the kids listened attentively, happy to be in the presence of a true basketball superstar.
“This is my first time in the Philippines, but I do a lot of NBA Cares events…you know, I’ve only got so long to be able to impact kids, and for me, it’s important that they know I take that job seriously…when they said, ‘You’re going to go to the Philippines,’ I said, ‘Awesome!’”
McWilliams-Franklin poses with the kids who took part in the 2016 NBA Cares event.
Following Read to Achieve, the activity moved downstairs, as the kids broke up into teams to take part in a relay that required them to pass on a calamansi using only spoons they held in their mouths. After much cheering and a couple of close calls, it was McWilliams-Franklin’s own team, #4, that won the day.
“I love books, I really love reading, and the kids were energetic, enthusiastic,” McWilliams told PlayPH. “And afterwards, doing a physical activity, it’s a great time, and that’s what we’re all about, making sure that kids have lifelong experiences that include learning and some type of physical activity to keep them healthy and safe. It was a great day today, and I really enjoyed it.”