There is a wise saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.”
This age-old adage rings true in every Jr.NBA/Jr.WNBA staging – whether in Baguio, Davao or in Manila. To put it in context, “It takes a whole team to raise a future basketball star.”
Much has been said or written on the proficiency and the potential of every participant. This blog, in fact, has written quite a few articles on how expansive is the potential for future basketball superstars. And how–even in the far corners of the North, amidst the rice paddies and mountain crevices, you will see a kid in his flip flops dribbling an old basketball, nursing little dreams of seeing action in the PBA someday.
As this year’s JrNBA/JrWNBA draws to a close and another batch of All Stars are chosen, we are also sharing the spotlight to the unsung heroes to this initiative.
Coach Craig Brown, who has done a great job in molding future basketball stars and uplifting the morale of those who weren’t chosen, recognizes that the amount of work behind every staging is staggering. In a quick interview, he gives recognition to the people behind the program – from long-time event partner Alaska down to the support staff tasked in putting up the court and drills in ever staging.
“The partnership that we have with Alaska is outstanding and the work they do to promote wellness…and a healthy lifestyle has been tremendous. I am also lucky to work with a great event staff and a great coaching team. They make my work easy, they are very professional and with a good feel for basketball,” said Brown.
The work that goes behind every selection event is truly staggering: from setting up the event venue, to setting up the drills and the scrimmage, to the selection of the final regional line-up and even down to organizing media coverage.
It is a lot of work yet efficiently put together like one big orchestra. To an outsider, it’s like seeing puzzle pieces fall into place one at a time:
Before the sound of sneakers bring life into every venue, what happens first is the event staff shuffling through with equipment, lugging sacks-full of basketball, clip boards and practice cones. It is of the coaching staff running through the drills, reviewing every child one by one, patiently evaluating and pushing every participant to their full potential. This happens simultaneously as the brand partners open shop, providing nourishment and thrills to spectators and young players alike. In one corner, the first aid team stands on duty while a team of seasoned referees huddle reviewing calls and ongoing scrimmage.
Coach Craig understands the hard work displayed by everyone, “When I arrive at every venue, it helps that the event staff always has things in place. On day one, all the skills station and things we need are set up. The time and the sacrifice that they put up is something — they’re here late at night and I am back at the hotel; they’re here early in the morning. (I’m glad)…because it’s important that these people get recognized for what they do.”
For referees Fernando Adamero, Danilo Rivera and Vic Amante, there’s something great about being amongst passionate young ballers and see them reach their full potential, “Nakakatuwa ang mga bata. Minsan maiisip mo talaga na baka sa susunod mo silang makita, naglalaro na sila sa PBA,” quips Amante who has been serving as referree for JrNBA the longest.
As the National Training Camp draws near and Jr.NBA/Jr.WNBA selects this year’s All-Stars, those who will not be selected will move on to other opportunities or maybe look forward to next year’s camp. The lucky ones will move on to the overseas training camp and maybe-who knows-to a potential career in collegiate basketball.
For the team behind the event, the logistics, the coaching staff, the brand partners and the PR team – what follows is just a quick breather. Until the rush, the excitement and the relentless search for 2017’s future basketball superstars begins anew.