A young Baguio National High School aspiring cager hurdled the 2018 Jr. NBA Philippines National Training Camp to qualify for the NBA experience trip later this year.
Christine Nichole Venterez, studying at said school, became one of the 16 new All-Stars to emerge from the Jr. NBA Philippines 2018 national camp after the five-month and four Regional Selection Camps in Baguio, Bacolod, Butuan and Manila officially concluded last Sunday, May 20, 2018.
The Eight boys and eight girls new All-Stars are the eleventh batch of Jr. NBA All-Stars and will join the growing list of Jr. NBA Alumni who will be making a name for themselves in their respective professional, collegiate and high school leagues.
Venterez will represent Northern Luzon in the NBA Experience Trip later this year in China.
A total of 74 participants attended the Jr. NBA Philippines 2018 presented by Alaska National Training Camp. Headlined by Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein and WNBA Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes, the National Training Camp was held at the Gatorade Hoops Center on May 18, at Don Bosco Technical Institute on May 19 and SM Mall of Asia Music Hall on May 20.
The National Training Camp players were the top performers in Regional Selection Camps in Bacolod, Baguio, Butuan, Metro Manila and Alaska Power Camp, which were led by Jr. NBA Coaches Carlos Barroca and Rob Newson, together with Alaska coaches led by PBA Legend Jeffrey Cariaso.
The Jr. NBA alumni were in attendance throughout the camp with Thirdy Ravena and Ricci Rivero visiting the Gatorade Hoops Center and Kai Sotto and Rhayyan Amsali highlighting the participants of the Jr. NBA Alumni All-Star Game in SM Mall of Asia.
Local coach Hazel Yambot was also named Coach of the Year and will join the All-Stars in their NBA Experience Trip in Shanghai.
The Jr. NBA All-Stars showcased skills on the court and exemplified the Jr. NBA core S.T.A.R. Values of Sportsmanship, Teamwork, a positive Attitude, and Respect.
The complete list are composed of: Prince Ray Alao, 14, of San Beda University; Ethan Rod Alian, 14, of La Salle Greenhills; John Lester Amagan, 14, of St. Robert’s International Academy of Iloilo; Seven Gagate, 14, of Chiang Kai Shek College; Nathan Jan Jundana, 14, of Bacolod Tay Tung; Christian Joi Mesias, 14, of Jose Maria College of Davao; Kim Aaron Tamayo, 13, of National University; and Rhon Khaniel Telles, 13, of St. Anthony de Carmelli Academy of Cavite for the boys division
Madelyn Flores, 14, of Bukidnon National High School; Gin Kayla Huelar, 13, of St. La Salle University, Bacolod; Aishe Solis, 13, of Corpus Christi School in Cagayan De Oro; Pauline Angelique Valle, 13, of Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School; Christine Nichole Venterez, 12, Baguio City National High School; Marielle Vingno, 14, of Escuela de Sophia of Caloocan Inc.; Amber Esquivel, 14, and Kyla Marie Mataga, 13, of De La Salle Zobel were the outstanding performers in the girls’ division.
Pauline Angelique Valle and Prince Ray Alao were named this year’s Jr. NBA Most Valuable Players while Marielle Vingno and Ethan Rod Alian were selected as Alaska Ambassadors.
Yambot and Mark “Tata” Belangel of Bacolod were chosen as the Coaches of the Year. In addition, special awards were handed out to Kayla Marie Mataga and Javier Louis Jugo as Gatorade Hustle awardees, Merylle Cuasay and Czarlo Salvador as Panasonic Rising Stars, and Aishe Solis and Kim Aaron Tamayo, Cloudfone Awesome Players of the Game.
“The Jr. NBA program gives us the opportunity to contribute to our goal of getting more kids to play the game of basketball and help them understand how working hard on their craft can open doors and unlock greater opportunities in life,” said Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes.
“I came here to inspire you but your passion and eagerness to learn inspire me and I’m so grateful for that,” shared Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein to the campers.
An NBA experience trip in Shanghai, China awaits the All-Stars in October where they will be joined by other Jr. NBA All-Stars from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in training and friendly competitions as they catch the NBA China Games 2018 featuring the Philadelphia 76ers and the Dallas Mavericks.
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS