Basketball remains as one the most popular types of sports in the Philippines, especially among the youth. Another proof to this was the new attendance record achieved by Jr. NBA Philippines in its 2018 edition.
The Jr. NBA Philippines is a free tryouts program targeting Filipino basketball enthusiasts aged 10 to 14 years old from across the country. Every year, it mounts its Regional Selection Camp (RSC) in key cities to tap the best young basketball players (both girls and boys) to comprise the year’s Jr. NBA Philippines team.
So far, the program has completed its leg in Bacolod City and Butuan City. The selection camp in Butuan City held this month (February 2018) set a new record for being the Jr. NBA Philippines’ most attended RSC in its 10-year history, as it gathered 1,505 young athletes from the city and nearby provinces to try out for this opportunity. The number surpassed the recent record set by its RSC in Cagayan de Oro in February 2017 (1,479 participants).
More interestingly, the Butuan City camp also included more than 200 young boys and girls from the indigenous communities of Higa-onon, Manobo, and Banwaon. Those participants traveled for two hours by road to make it to the program camp.
“Breaking the attendance record for the Jr. NBA Philippines RSC is a tremendous achievement and a testament to the popularity of the game of basketball in this country,” said Jr. NBA Head Coach Rob Newson. Aside from Newson, one of Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) legends Jeffrey Cariaso also facilitated tryouts, sports clinics, and trainings for the campers.
Basketball program for the youth
Jr. NBA Philippines is a free program targeting 250,000 participants this year and up to 900 coaches nationwide. In the program, young athletes are subjected to four stages of the activities, starting with a skills clinics held in local communities and/or schools.
The RSC follows and integrates with a National Training Camp that aims to further trim down the number of participants, selecting only the best of the roster who will proceed to take chances for a full NBA experience. In the end, 16 Jr. NBA All-Stars will be named—eight boys and eight girls.
So far this year, the RSC has completed its leg in Bacolod and Butuan. It is set to hold camp in Baguio in March 17 to 18 and Metro Manila in April 21 to 22. Alaska is the chief partner of Jr. NBA Philippines.