Life and bas­ket­ball

Sun.Star Davao - - FRONT PAGE - By Adam B. Mor­rell

“What is more im­por­tant is not about the com­pe­ti­tion with the team from the other side of the court, but it's about com­pet­ing with your­self. There's al­ways joy in the process of be­com­ing the best you can be and try­ing to be­come a bet­ter per­son than you were yes­ter­day."

Ronel Leu­terio, 54, made the in­spir­ing state­ment. He is the ex­ec­u­tive pro­gram of­fi­cer of Sama­hang Bas­ket­bol ng Pilip­inas (SBP) 11.

Leu­terio grew up in Pasay City but even­tu­ally moved to Ba­coor dur­ing his teenage years. In 1993, Leu­terio be­came one of the coach­ing staff of the Uni­ver­sity of Per­pet­ual Help Sys­tem Dalta in Las Piñas be­fore he trans­ferred to Col­lege of St. Be­nilde. "Those were re­ally hor­ri­ble years in terms of wins and losses but those were the years look­ing back now were I learned the most," Leu­terio said.

Those strug­gling years, how­ever, didn't stop him from mov­ing for­ward. His hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion re­sulted to his team win­ning cham­pi­onships.

"What we want in life is the easy part but what are we will­ing to strug­gle in life is more im­por­tant. All jobs na­man have dif­fi­cul­ties and dis­ap­point­ments but there those na­man na it doesn't pay much well but you love ev­ery sin­gle mo­ment of do­ing it," he said.

For him the joy in coach­ing is not re­ally on the num­ber of cham­pi­onships won but ba­si­cally on the jour­ney. "It might be a cliche but it's re­ally true. Prob­lems are con­stant in any team you're coach­ing. The joy in coach­ing comes from solv­ing prob­lems, and in coach­ing there's a lot of it," he added.

He moved to Davao City in 2000 and be­came part of the coach­ing staff of the Metropoli­tan Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (MBA) team Davao Ea­gles with coach Bong Go and Vito Or­cullo.

"If there's one per­son who I re­ally owe a lot in coach­ing, it's re­ally Coach Bong. Peo­ple who re­ally knew me knows that I'm `buang' (crazy) in bas­ket­ball," Leu­terio, who may prob­a­bly be the big­gest col­lec­tor of bas­ket­ball books and video tapes. He al­ready has 500 bas­ketabll books in­clud­ing one writ­ten by John Bunn in the early 1960s.

In 2005, Leu­terio mi­grated to Chicago where he thought it would be the end of bas­ket­ball for him, but it was not.

"I re­al­ized in­stead that it's open­ing more doors for me. This is where I started col­lect­ing all the books I wanted, the in­struc­tional tapes of NBA and NCAA coaches I idol­ize. But where I re­ally learned a lot in the US coach­ing was when then North­west­ern coach, Bill Car­mody gave me all ac­cess to his prac­tices," he sahred, re­call­ing that it was then he learned a lot about the Prince­ton of­fense and the match-up zone de­fense which he be­lieves should be the sta­pled in Philip­pine bas­ket­ball.

Leu­terio vis­ited Davao City in 2013 where it was then Glenn Es­can­dor, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Es­can­dor Group of Com­pa­nies and the cur­rent SBP re­gional di­rec­tor, asked him to train his son Fran­cis Gabriel Es­can­dor who was then an Ate­neo de Davao Uni­ver­sity bas­ket­ball var­sity player.

Leu­terio took the op­por­tu­nity as he has been think­ing of re­tir­ing in Davao City any­way. On his first day of train­ing the young Es­can­dor, they went straight to the tomb of the lat­ter's late grand­fa­ther. "I told him na ev­ery­thing you have in life, you owe it to him," Leu­terio, per­tain­ing to the late colonel Emilio Es­can­dor.

"What a bet­ter way to show your grat­i­tude is by cre­at­ing a name in bas­ket­ball that would some­how im­mor­tal­ize his name (Emilio Es­can­dor)," Leu­terio said.

He then rose to promi­nence in Davao City af­ter see­ing a huge im­prove­ment from Fran­cis.

Leu­terio, as ex­ec­u­tive pro­gram of­fi­cer of SBP, with the help of Es­can­dor, aims to make a dif­fer­ence in what­ever way he can to help in im­prov­ing not only on how the game is be­ing played but also on the plight of the play­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.