PH Youth All-stars thrilled with unique NBA experience
“Represent yourself well and follow the S.T.AR. values.” Coach Jeff Cariaso’s message to the Philippine Jr. NBA/WNBA all stars was loud and clear.
“You will play with other players and meet new friends. Expect to play hard and expect to have some fun, too,” said the former Alaska Aces star to the 16-member Jr.NBA and Jr. WNBA Philippine All-Stars for the NBA Shanghai Experience.
Cariaso, the former Alaska Aces star and now director for basketball operations of Alaska Milk Corporation, presented the all-star squad during a send-off ceremony recently at the Outback Restaurant in Makati City.
STAR stands for sportsmanship, teamwork, a positive attitude and respect. And the 16-member young all-stars were determined to follow it to the heart.
The team, composed of eight boys and eight girls from various parts of the country, flew to Shanghai on Friday and converged with other All-stars teams in Southeast Asia for a unique and what could a once-in-a lifetime NBA experience.
The Philippine Jr. NBA all-star squad is composed of 14-year-old Kenjie Trey Duremdes, Jan Clement Macalalang(13) and Victorino Torres (13), who all come from La Salle Greenhills; Joachim Eddie Laure from University of Sto. Tomas, Johnedel Austria (Escuela de Sophia-Caloocan), Ian Dominic Espinosa (Ateneo de Iloilo), ReinhardJumanoy (University of San Carlos-North Campus) and Jeryk Dwight Bait ( St. Francis National High School in Lucena).
Making up the Jr. WNBA Philippine All-stars are BoniMarylene Solis, Jane Araza from Chang Kai Shek College, Jeehan Nikaela Admed (La Salle Santiago); Jazmine Ann Maniquis ( St. Paul Pasig) Lindsey Nacional (La Salle College Antipolo), Camille Nolasco (Miriam College),Chinnsai Demana (University of the Visayas in Cebu) and Graciey Aine De Mesa of Lucena City National High School.
Laure, son of former PBA player Eddie, said he joined the Jr. NBA program because he was inspired by his friends who had already experienced the NBA Global Games trip.
“Sila po ang naging inspirasyon kasi sa kwento nila na kakaiba po daw talaga.”
Duremdez, son of former PBA all-star legend Kenneth, said used his older brother as motivation to make it to the cream of the crop of the program.
“Sumali po kasi ung kuya ko three years ago pero hindi po nakapasok. Kaya nag promise po ako na pipilitin ko na ako naman ang makalusot,” said the La Salle Greenhills student.
The Magic 16 players were selected from out of more than 30,000 aspirants who participated in regional training camps in major cities in the country.
The top 37 in each of the boys and girls division advanced to the National Training Camp until they were trimmed to the Final 8 in each of the Jr NBA and Jr. NBA all-star teams.
One of the standouts in the Jr. WNBA is Jeehan Admed, an eight grader from De La Salle Santiago, who claimed it was her height advantage that probably made her click in the camp. “Main skill ko po ang depensa,” said the 13-year-old who stands 5-10.
On the first day yesterday, the Filipino youngsters were off to training and scrimmage under NBA coaches, along with their counterparts from Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, at the world-class facility Fuego Sports Center.
Tomorrow morning will be the culmination of their training at the same venue before heading to the Global Sports Arena in the afternoon for a ringside seat to watch the game between the NBA defending champions Golden State Warriors and the Jimmy Butler-led Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Filipino All-stars will return to Manila on Monday.
The NBA’s parternship with Alaska for the Jr. NBA Philippines program started in 2011. The Jr. NBA Program is a great fit with Alaska’s mission to nurture young talents and to promote healthy and active lifestyle through sports and outdoor play. The brand aims to open world class opportunities for kids through basketball.
With Alaska as the presenting partner, the Jr. NBA program has reached hundreds of schools and communities nationwide and benefited thousands of children, parents, and coaches through grassroots activities like basketball training camps and school clinics, NBA Cares outreach projects, television programs, and online initiatives.