11th Jr. NBA rolls off in Makati

Manila Times - - SPORTS - Jan­uary 14, 2018 JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA

THE Ju­nior Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Jr. NBA) Philip­pines 2018 fired off on Satur­day at the Don Bosco Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tute in Makati City.

The Alaska Milk-backed hoops pro­gram is seek­ing to reach more than 250,000 bas­ket­ball play­ers and 900 coaches across the coun­try in­clud­ing the prov­inces of Benguet, Batan­gas, Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal and Agu­san Del Norte.

“Last year, the pro­gram was big­ger than ever be­fore. We are look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing that growth this year,” said NBA Philip­pines Manag­ing Di­rec­tor Carlo Sing­son.

Jr. NBA, now on its 11th straight year, re­mains free for boys and girls ages 10 to 14 years old. Par­tic­i­pants will un­dergo skills clin­ics and the promis­ing play­ers get selected to join train­ing camps.

Re­gional se­lec­tion camps will be held in Ba­colod City (Fe­bru­ary 10 to 11), Bu­tuan City (Fe­bru­ary 2425), Baguio City (March 17-18) and Metro Manila (April 21-22), with the top 37 boys and girls ad­vanc­ing to the Na­tional Train­ing Camp in Manila (May 18-20).

Eight Jr. NBA All-Stars each from two di­vi­sions will be cho­sen to play with fel­low young cagers from South­east Asia overseas. Last year, the pro­gram cul­mi­nated in Shang­hai, China.

Alaska manag­ing di­rec­tor Marco Ber­tacca said that they aim to en­cour­age chil­dren to have an ac­tive life­style dur­ing the du­ra­tion of the four-month pro­gram.

“This pro­gram is about get­ting the kids away from the sofa, tele­vi­sion and phones. This is about get­ting them out­side and play. That’s what we are here for,” said Ber­tacca.

Cur­rent Univer­sity of the Philip­pines stand­out Jan Jaboneta, who was a Jr. NBA alum­nus, re­lated how the pro­gram gave him a solid foun­da­tional train­ing.

“I joined Jr. NBA be­cause I want show the tal­ent of the play­ers from the prov­inces and that we can com­pete with the play­ers from Manila,” said the six-footer Ce­buano guard in Filipino.

Be­sides Jaboneta, other no­table Jr. NBA alumni are cur­rent Philip­pine Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion play­ers Aljon Mar­i­ano and Kiefer Ravena along with col­le­giate stars Kobe Paras, Thirdy Ravena, Ricci Rivero and Aljun Mele­cio as well as high school stal­wart Kai Sotto.

The Jr. NBA is the Amer­i­can league’s global youth par­tic­i­pa­tion pro­gram that fo­cuses on teach­ing the fun­da­men­tal skills and core val­ues of bas­ket­ball. Coaches and par­tic­i­pants can now reg­is­ter by vis­it­ing the pro­gram’s web­site.

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