Jr NBA Philippines 2018 aims for 35,000 Filipino participants
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino youth players aged 10 to 14 years old get another chance to take their basketball dreams to greater heights as Jr NBA Philippines 2018 opened its doors on Satuday, January 13.
This year's program aims to reach more than 35,000 Filipino kids – after hitting a record-breaking 33,617 participants in 2017 – as they are implementing the program in 110 cities and municipalities. The program will return to the provinces of Agusan Del Norte, Batangas, Benguet, Cavite, Misamis Oriental and Negros Occidental.
On its 11th year in the Philippines, the Jr NBA – the league's global youth basketball participation program – has been successful in raising the level of the basketball grassroots program in the Philippines. The best coaches in the country are able to teach aspiring players the fundamental skills and core values of the game though a variety of camps, clinics, skills challenges, league play and outreach events.
The program holds selection camps starting with the regional selection camps in Bacolod (Feb.10-11), Butuan (Feb 24.-25), Baguio (March 17-18) and Metro Manila (April 21-22). The top 37 of each division – boys and girls – will advance to the National Training Camp (May 18-20), where they will be joined by an NBA and WNBA player or legend.
In 2017, Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton and New York Liberty center Sue Wicks graced the training camp proper. (READ: Magic's Payton, ex-WNBA player Wicks to coach Jr NBA camp in Manila)
The highlight of program is for the top 16 Jr NBA All-Stars – comprised of 8 girls and 8 boys – to get the NBA experience as they train under their NBA idols as well as watch a live NBA game. The 2017 batch of Jr NBA All-Stars went to Shanghai, China to watch the Golden State Warriors go up against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Former New York Knicks player Jerome Williams also took part in the culminating event to share training tips with the All-Star teams of different Asian countries.
NBA Philippines Managing Director Carlo Singson promises that the Jr NBA program will continue its commitment to basketball youth of the Philippines.
"Together with Alaska, we are committed to providing proper guidelines to how the game should be played and taught to more youth, coaches and parents in the country."
Aljon Mariano, who is currently playing for Barangay Ginebra, and UAAP stalwarts Ricci Rivero, Kib Montalbo, Aljun Melecio, Thirdy Ravena, Tyler Tio, Gian Mamuyac and Janjan Jaboneta are graduates of the Jr NBA program.
The 2018 edition of the Jr NBA will still continue the Jr NBA Coach of the Year's coaching clinics, which has produced NCAA and UAAP champion coach Aldin Ayo. This year, NBA coach Carlos Barroca and former Alaska Ace Jeff Cariaso will be leading the training of the top 14 coaches from the program during the National Training Camp. – Rappler.com