For generations, young basketballers have been given a preview of the future. With the help of youth development programs such as the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA, they are given the chance to be trained by professional coaches and develop their fundamentals on their way to making their dreams come true. In fact, the young players have stepped up to play an active role in basketball’s evolution through the years, and today, women are showing that they can more than hold their own on the court.
Now in it’s 9th year, the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA have touched thousands of lives in the Philippines and each year, it has grown bigger and better through its commitment to developing young talents.
“I think it is time for the female participation in basketball to be truly recognized and upgraded to the next level,” said Alaska Milk Vice President of Marketing Blen Fernando, of the program, now in its 9th yearat the tip-off ceremony. “In Alaska, the female sports program is something that we are committed to.”
Among the aspiring athletes who signed up for the 2016 Jr. WNBA program is 12-year-old Chynna Martinez, whose mother cheered her on from the sidelines as she did her drills.
“At first, I was just shooting and dribbling the ball, copying what I see my friends were doing,” said Chynna of how she first learned how to play basketball. Despite the lack of a mentor, she picked up the game at the age of 4 by playing with her friends at the street court in front of their home.
“Chynna has tried several other sports but basketball is the one she loved the most,” said mommy Olivia of her daughter Chynna. “She joined a clinic at the Sports Complex in Muntinlupa where she was the only girl. Still, she was chosen to play in several basketball leagues together with the other boys.”
Today, Chynna is all smiles as she shares the effect pursing the sport and, of course, the Jr. WNBA, has had on her: “Once my game improved, I realized that I can hold my own against the boys. I realized that I can also do what they can.”