Since its introduction to the Philippines in 2007, the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA program has touched hundreds of thousands of lives. From young basketballers, to aspiring coaches, the program has done more than teach the fundamentals of the game – it has brought them closer to their dreams.
One such young basketballer is Miguel Competente. Hailing from Mindanao, Competente is representative of the young athletes from different walks of life whose journeys cross paths within the program on the way to achieving their dreams.
“It was in Davao where I first tried out for the Jr. NBA,” shared 2011 Jr. NBA All-Star Miguel Competente with playPH. “I was fortunate to be able to go to Manila but that was as far as I got. After that, I worked hard and travelled all the way to Cebu to try out again the next year. That was when I was able to become an All-Star.”
For 2015 Jr. WNBA All-Star Kyla Flores, her journey was somewhat different – and one that she will never forget. Her story reflects how the program impacts the lives of those who join, as well as paving the way for their futures.
“During the Regionals, there so many people and I feel like there are a lot of good players,” shared Flores with playPH. “I was just a beginner that time, so I got scared. I just prayed to God to give the strength and courage to show what I am capable of.”
“I learned a lot from the Jr. WNBA,” she added. “Today, there are several schools inviting me and offering scholarships so it’s really a big help to me and my parents.”
In addition to helping young athletes develop their skills, the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA also makes it a point to teach the importance of S.T.A.R. (Sportsmanship, Teamwork, positive Attitude, and Respect) values to help them succeed both on and off the court. These values are the same ones that will help young athletes to form strong bonds with the people they meet, and, in basketball context as best said by Flores, “In basketball, communication is the first step to form a great team.”
Now having expanded to more cities from different corners of the country, the program welcomes new faces with their hearts on fire driving them closer towards their dreams. If they work hard and eventually make it to the All-Star team, they will be sent abroad for the ultimate NBA experience as the program’s culminating activity, to meet their Southeast Asian counterparts, NBA legends, and watch their favorite NBA teams play live. For 9 straight years, the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA has brought unique experiences to everyone who participated – experiences that can help them advance in life, filled with moments that make their overall journey one worthwhile.