LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Nine young cagers, seven of them from Baguio-Benguet, successfully hurdled the drills of the Jr. NBA Benguet Regional Selection Camp held last March 23-24, 2019 at the Benguet State University (BSU) and will head to Manila for the Jr. NBA National Training Camp later this year.
The seven this year surpasses the number last year when only five from the locality were able to advance to the national round.
Heading the finalists are Jhuliana Francesca Pagteilan, 13, studying at the San Jose School in La Trinidad; and Christine Nicole Venterez, 12, studying at the Baguio City National High School;
Jushrylle Rayne De Vera, 13, studying at Baguio City National High School; Kenneth Gabriel Duca, 14, studying at University of Baguio Science High School; Zak Adlee Gumaya, 13, studying at Berkeley School of Baguio, Aethan Pagio, 14, studying at University of Baguio; Nathaniel Tomeldan, 14, studying at St. Louis University – Laboratory High Schoool;
Laurence Christian Batongbakal, 13, studying at Saint Mary’s University; and Czarlo Lorenzo Salvador, 13, Ateneo de Davao University complete this year’s cast of finalists.
Pagteilan, Venterez, and Salvador, are repeat qualifiers of in the Benguet Camp as they were also participants of last year and were, likewise, able to reach the National Camp.
Pagteilan, a resident of Ambassador, Tublay, Benguet, was a first time participant last year and was also a newbie of the game then. She could not even mention a favorite basketball player when asked.
She described her interest in playing basketball was only developed by simply watching his brother play. It was such a surprise that she came out with an invitation for the national training camp back then.
According to her coach, she finished top 20 after last year’s training camp was completed. She credited the BSU Training Camp for enhancing her defense.
The seven boys and two girls who exhibited outstanding oncourt skills and embodied the core values of the game during the two-day basketball drills and exercises will move on to the next stage of the program, the Jr. NBA Philippines National Training Camp, to be held at Don Bosco Technical Institute Makati on May 17-19, 2019.
A roster of 40 boys and 40 girls will be gathered from the Jr. NBA Philippines Regional Selection Camps in Benguet, Butuan, Dumaguete, Lucena, and Metro Manila, and a select group from the Alaska Power Camp.
There, these players from across the archipelago will showcase their talents and vie to be named as Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars.
Former PBA player Tony dela Cruz, ofpresenting partner Alaska, was generally impressed by the dribbling ability and competitiveness of the Baguio-Benguet participants.
“What I’ve noticed here in Baguio is that there are a lot of good dribblers. The kids here are very competitive, very enthusiastic. They’re working hard.”, he said.
“The three questions I always ask the kids – Did you have fun? Did you give your best? And the last one is, do you love basketball? And it’s all, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and I think that’s our goal here, making sure that the kids are learning basketball, they’re having fun and more importantly they are giving their best.”, he continued.
Also tagging along as coaches were Natalia Andre, Merenciana “Ewon” Arayi, and former PBA player Willie Miller.
This year, Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars, comprised of as many as five boys and five girls, will compete in the first Jr. NBA Global Championship Asia Pacific Selection Camp, a week-long camp in June that includes top youth players from North Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific region.
The Asia Pacific regional competition will provide the 2019 batch of Jr. NBA All-Stars the opportunity to represent the region in the Jr. NBA Global Championship that will be held on August 6-11 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida. The international event will feature talented youth from the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, China, Mexico, Africa, India and the Asia-Pacific.
Boys and girls aged 10-14 years old can still join the remaining Jr. NBA Philippines Regional Selection Camps in Dumaguete (March 30-31), Butuan (April 13-14) and Metro Manila (April 27-28) by registering at www.jrnba.asia/philippines.
The Jr. NBA Philippines 2019 edition is presented by Alaska, with AXA, Gatorade, Globe, Panasonic, Rexona and Vivo as official partners. ABS-CBN S+A, Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV are the official broadcasters of Jr. NBA Philippines.
By: ARMANDO BOLISLIS
Banner photo: HIGHER THAN HIGH – Test on how high is the vertical jump of a participant was measured during The Jr. NBA Benguet Camp last March 23-24, 2019 at the Benguet State University Gym. BY ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS