MANILA, Philippines – LeBron James did way more than just visit his fans here in Manila.
As part of his “Strive for Greatness” tour, the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar held a basketball clinic with select women’s basketball players in Metro Manila. This was held on Saturday, September 2, at the Kerry Sports Gym in Taguig City prior to his Mall of Asia Arena show.
James showed how much he cherished the experience by posting a photo of him with the girls in his Instagram on Sunday, September 3.
In an online interview with Rappler, Ateneo Lady Eagle Cara Buendia was able to share her once-in-a-lifetime, face-to-face training session with the three-time NBA champion.
The main organizer, Nike Philippines, was able to gather a pool of 22 girls. However two – Lady Maroon Patricia Pesquera and Lady Eagle Jollina Go – were not able make it.
Buendia recalled they were first ushered into a dugout full of LeBron James merchandise that heightened the feeling of excitement for the girls.
“Sobrang gulat kami (we were so surprised) and excited namin lahat. As in lalong nakaka-pump (more pumped) up ng excitement when we saw the merch ready ’cause it was another step closer to seeing LeBron in flesh,” said Buendia.
The girls were split into two teams, and were asked to prepare for a training session of drills and challenges. They were put under the condition to be energetic throughout the event or else James would not join them in training.
“We warmed up with stretches muna inside the dugout, then we were called out. We were instructed to keep our energies up during the workout because if we didn’t, then LeBron wouldn’t join us daw. So ayun, super hyped namin, we gave our 100% in each drill,” recalled Buendia.
The routine of drills ended with a layup challenge between the two teams where the end goal was to have a one-on-one challenge with the NBA star.
“Our drills started with court-to-court layups. After that, we passed the ball to the coach and did rip-to-layups and rip-to-short jumpers,” said Buendia of the type of drills they did. “Then we had a layup challenge wherein one team had to beat the other in who could make the most layups in a minute of 3-man weave to layup. Whichever team lost would have to run and whichever team won would do pressure free throws. Whoever is the last woman standing in free throws would have a challenge with LeBron.”
However, due to the lack of time, James was not able to push through with the one-on-one challenge. But the four-time MVP gave a speech to the girls, where he expressed his gratitude for taking time to train with him and give him a glimpse of the situation of Philippine basketball now.
For Buendia, the whole experience was “a mixture of nervousness and excitement,” as she was able to meet one of the greatest players in the NBA – “The King” LeBron James.
“And also, I felt blessed to be a part of the event because it was a privilege to learn from LeBron, and it’s not all the time that you get to be up close, training with one of the best NBA players in our generation,” said Buendia.
Other than Buendia, some of the players who joined this basketball clinic were Ateneo Lady Eagles Katrina Guytingco, Jhazmine Joson and Hazelle Yam, UST’s Christiana Dimaunahan and the young Kristine Cayabyab who had impressed James back in his 2015 tour. – Rappler.com
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