On Sunday, May 14th, the Jr. NBA National Training Camp came to an end as 16 of the best young ballers from all over the Philippines were given the honor of being named All-Stars. The Mall of Asia Music Hall was filled with uprising basketball talent, paired with determined coaches.
From 33,000 hopeful players and coaches from all over the Philippines to an elite All-Star squad, the Jr. NBA proves to be an integral program that helps to shape the young basketball community. Indeed, according to Jr.NBA Head Coach Chris Sumner, the program’s aim is to give basketball opportunities to kids that have never experienced high-level training.
“It’s a responsibility and I take it seriously,” said Sumner of the experience. “Hopefully, I’m able to bring forth something that they will take with them down the road.”
Womens Basketball Hall of Famer Sue Wicks and Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton were on hand to inspire participants towards their goal. “I think it’s important we go out there and give as much as we can back to the youth,” Payton told PlayPH.
Wicks explained that the best thing about coaching young athletes was that, “they’re filled with potential. If you teach them those life skills that if you work hard, and if you’re determined, great things will happen. And that the best possible outcome will only come if you are passionate and hardworking.” She also reminds young talent, “the other thing is having faith that all this hard work put into it, something great can happen. To keep pushing, to keep working, something will happen and move to the next level.”
At the height of all their hardwork, participants got a special surprise in the form of NBA legend and Hall of Famer, Dikembe Mutombo. The former defensive specialist got the chance to sit up front during one of the scrimmages and even coached some of the kids. In his speech, Mutombo acknowledges how the Philippines has made it’s mark on basketball territory, “The future of the NBA is high here in Manila.”
The Jr. WNBA All-Star team is composed of the following: Bonie Marylene Solis, Jane Araza, Jasmine Maniquis, Gracie Mesa, Jeehan Nikaela Ahmed, Lindsey Nacional, Camille Nolasco, and Chinnsai Demana.
Meanwhile, sons of former Alaska Aces’ Kenneth Duremdes and Eddie Laure star in the Jr NBA All-Star team. The list is as follows: Kenji Duremdes, Joachim Laure, Victorino Torres, Iam Dominic Espinosa, Jhon Del Austria, Jan Clement Macalalag, Jeryk Dwight Bait, and Reinhard Jumamoy.
At the same time, coaches Jed Cabellon and Catrina Biongcog were named Jr. NBA and JR. WNBA Coaches of the Year.
When asked about the honor, Cabellon told PlayPH, “It’s all about putting your heart into your profession and lastly, the love of basketball.”
The successful event left kids, coaches, and parents with an enhanced basketball experience, one that pushes the envelope for proper sportsmanship, teamwork, positive attitude and most importantly, respect.
Learn more about the Jr. NBA here: http://jrnba.asia/philippines/