Whoever thought of starting the Jr. NBA programÂ is a genius.Â Amazing how people with passion and skill for basketball can share this to boys who are building on their skills as well.
When I saw the Jr. NBA ads and commercial on BTV, I couldnâ€™t help but say that the PBA should come up with something similar, as in like a Corporate Social Responsibility thing. Sure weâ€™ve seen the likes of Patricia Bermudez-Hizon spearhead outreach activities involving some players. Iâ€™m just saying, genuine caring should never say, â€œIâ€™ve done enough.â€ After all, who else can and should care more for the young Filipino ballers, right? We have big team names in the league with bigger capabilities and resources, so… why not?
Besides, if Alaska can sponsor Â the Jr. NBA events in the Philippines, pooling in and a little â€œteamworkâ€ from every team can make it a possibility. (Iâ€™d like to see Cojuanco and Pangilinan, get along tooâ€¦ OK, if thatâ€™s too much for their businesses, in PBA â€œCSRsâ€ na lang.) If we want something to flourish, then the idea of it must be passed on, right?(and Iâ€™m not talking about just the D-League here.)
So going back to the Jr. NBA, hereâ€™s a little overview of what the program is and how it transpired in the Philippines:
The Jr. NBA, presented by Alaska, Â has been in the Philippines for the past four years. It has been extending and improving its program since they first launched it here.Â True enough, all its events have been well â€“ attended by Filipino boys, aged 10-14. This year, Jr. NBA has been all over the Philippines, reaching over 400 schools nationwide.
The Jr. NBA program consists of three stages: the School Program, the Regional Selection Camps and the National Training Camp. The best ten (10) students in the National Training Camp will make up the Jr. NBA Philippine All-Star Team. Â The past yearsâ€™ all-star teams have been rewarded with the ultimate NBA experience, while learning so much about the necessary skills and attitude of outstanding basketball players.
Last yearâ€™s Jr. NBA Philippine All Star team was able to visit Beijing and witnessed a live NBA game. The boys attest to the one-of-a-kind experience and even shared stories of their most unforgettable memories. (I’ll tell you about it on another post!)
So for the first time on March 26, 2011, I saw that NBA-caring with my own eyes, during the GMA regional selection of the Jr. NBA program at Xavier Campus.
Hundreds (Around 400 but I think I saw more!) of boys from GMA registered and qualified to join the regional selections. Minimum qualifications, as I saw it: must know how to play basics of basketball (yes, like shoot and dribble) and must love basketball, simply put.
After some pep talk from Coach Jama Mahlalela (Head of NBA Asia Operations, former Toronto Raptor), the boys went through a series of mini-clinics of basketball skills. Coach Jojo Lastimosa (8 time PBA all-star , former Purefoods, Alaska and Pop Cola player) Â also delivered an inspirational message to the boys, telling of his past experiences, and the right mind-set to become a successful player. Â A Gatorade representative also shared why it is important to hydrate and re-rehydrate prior to, during, and after sport activities. Trust me, I was so interested in their talks too, even if I wasnâ€™t a participant.Â
The boys went through a series of stations which tested their skills: Dribbling, passing, shooting, jumping. They also had stations for their other kinetic abilities (push ups, core exercises, etc.) plus stations which measured their vital statistics. Their scores in these stations were weighted, and were used to select the top 40, then top 10 participants for the GMA regional selections.
So the 40 boys of varying (extremely varying, even) heights were screened again, to be able to select the top ten. The top ten qualified players will move on to the basketball camp on April 9-11, 2011 along with the other qualifiers from the other regional selections. Venue is at the LSGH Campus, with Frank Lopez and AC Green being in the coaching team too.
See, after all, lifeâ€™s a ball. Good luck, boys! Â