It was basketball that brought these young athletes together and it was at the 8th annual Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA, the league’s international youth development program, where they crossed paths. They trained together, learned, and developed their fundamentals under the guidance of professional coaches. As they honed their skills, they adopted S.T.A.R. (Sportsmanship, Teamwork, positive Attitude, Respect) values that helped them grow their games and characters. Through these, they were able to form bonds that made them more than just teammates.
“We’re now a family. My teammates are like my siblings,” said Jr. WNBA All-Star and Alaska Youth Ambassador Kyla Flores. “Our relationships go beyond basketball.”
2015 Jr. NBA All-Star and MVP John Ernest Felicilda agreed, saying, “My life is happier whenever they are with me. They are always there to give guidance and support.”
Since its introduction, the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA program has sought out the best basketballers while advocating an active and healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition and sports. Over the last 8 years, the program has touched the lives of over 100,000 young athletes and aspiring coaches from all over the country.
President and CEO of Alaska Milk Corporation Wilfred Steven Uytengsu said, “Through our partnership with the NBA, the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA presented by Alaska have encouraged children to participate in sports to nurture their talent and live a healthy and active lifestyle.”
With the success of the program in the Philippines, Alaska’s mother company Frieslandcampina introduced the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
From the Regional Camps that started in January to the National Training Camps held in Manila in April, 15 All-Stars were selected. Representing the Jr. NBA were: Robert Alomar Castro, Lloyd Raphael Oliva, Luis Sebastian Locsin, Edrian Custodio and Miguel Luigi Santos from Manila, Joshua Garing from Lipa, Ernest John Felicida and Jeffy Mailim from Cagayan de Oro, Christian Allen Magno from Dagupan, and Daniel Anthony Coo from Bacolod.
Completing the roster were Jr. WNBA stand outs, Nelia Jean David and Micaela Denise Pentecostes from Quezon City, Kyla Flores from Parañaque, Luisa Krizelle San Juan from Laguna and Heart Pagara Donor from Davao.
With the right motivation, inspiration, and support from their parents, these young athletes laced their shoes and worked hard to earn their All-Star slots in the first quarter of the year. On the 9th of October, these inspiring champions found themselves gearing up for the experience of a lifetime: The ultimate NBA experience. As the culminating event of the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA program, the All-Stars travelled to Shenzhen, China to meet their international peers, NBA stars and legends in the flesh, as well as watch the first-ever NBA Global Game.