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How Alaska’s Initiatives can help our Kids

A realization hit me when I was younger–that moment when I saw a TV commercial from before showing a son talking to his dad over the phone explaining he doesn’t really wanted to be a doctor and that he will shift from Medicine to Fine Arts–parents cannot really force their children to like the things they planned or hoped for them.

One afternoon when I was on my second trimester with Elijah, while Paulo and I was enjoying our merienda, we shared our thoughts on what our hopes and desires for our kids-to-be in terms of carriers, hobbies and the like aside of course that they should be God-fearing fellas.

Being the sports enthusiast that my husband was, he wanted for our kids to be most active in sports. Be that in basketball, fencing, swimming, running (a varsity back then like him) but his top hope for our children is to be an Ironkid. I’m not a sports person, I can’t relate to any sports, honestly. So I listened as he explained that sports develops discipline and discipline can take you far in life. I don’t doubt his statement as he was a living example himself.

The thought of the TV commercial kept playing at the back of my mind. Yes, we cannot really force our kids to like the things we planned or hoped for them but we believe we can influence it. We’ll start them young. Expose them to activities which they might realize the benefits of especially sports.

Alaska has different initiatives on helping our kids hone their sports potential OR develop a love for it. One of these is the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA which shapes, trains, challenges and inspire children to achieve their dreams and aspirations in life. It is an international youth development program that promotes basketball participation, sportsmanship and teamwork, and an active lifestyle among boys and girls.

I volunteered to cover their Regional Selection Camp (RSC) Manila leg. I wanted to witness it myself. I wanted to see how kids push for their dreams through basketball. I wanted to see how their parents support them and how that support affects their determination to bag a spot in the National Training Camp. From RSC they’ll pick 10 boys and 5 girls for the All-Star Team.

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The All-Star Team will travel overseas for their NBA experience trip together with fellow Jr. NBA All-Stars from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. The 2015 Jr. NBA All-Stars traveled to China to watch the NBA Global Games in Shenzhen featuring the Charlotte Hornets and the L.A. Clippers.

It is free and open to boys and girls ages 10 to 14 years old (born 2002 to 2006). Interested parties may register at the venue in Don Bosco Institute in Makati or online through www.jrnba.asia/philippines.

The Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA Presented by Alaska is one of Alaska Milk’s programs that shape, train, challenge and inspire children to achieve their dreams and aspirations in life.

I arrived at Don Bosco Makati in a scene of parents and guardians surrounding the basketball court while the boys and girls wanting to be included in selection camp is lined outside waiting for their turn to register. Yes, online registration was opened months before yet the line of walk-in participants was still long. While inside the court, participants who arrived early their basketball skills were checked and tried.

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On Day 1, Saturday, a total of 1,114 boys and girls (1030 boys, 84 girls) went to Don Bosco Technical Institute in Manila to take part in the program where their basketball skills were tested/checked. At the end of the day, 40 boys and 24 girls were chosen to return for Day 2 of the camp where among them the RSC Manila representatives to the National Training Camp will be chosen.

 

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Participant’s score card on different skills stations.

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There’s also a search for coaches! 
The search for the 2016 Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA Coach of the Year will also conclude at the National Training Camp. The Coach of the Year award winners—which will be announced on the final day of the National Training Camp—will take part in the NBA experience alongside the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA All-Stars.

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A selfie with Coach Richard Todoc, 39 y/o from Caloocan. He registered online for the coaches clinic.

On Day 2, the basketball clinic was held in the morning and in the afternoon where the scrimmages, were the boys and girls were grouped into teams and were made to play sets of basketball games where they can apply all that they have learned from day 1 and from the basketball clinic in the morning.

At the end of Day 2, those who qualified for the NTC were 8 girls and 16 boys.

Since Day 1 I cannot help but notice Kai Zachary Sotto. He is just 13 years old but his height is 6’9”. That’s a very difficult sight to ignore, right? I interviewed him and found out that it was his 3rd time to join the Alaska RSC. “Nung first try ko po hindi ako nakapasok sa top 40. Yung second try naman po nakapasok ako sa 20 pero hindi sa All-Star Team. Sana po ngayon, makapasok na ako.” he said. When I asked how he prepared for this year’s Jr.NBA, “puro training po with Daddy”, he answered. For those like me who aren’t aware who’s Kai’s daddy was, he was Ervin Sotto of NLEX Warriors. If that’s not parents-cannot-really-force-their-kids-to- like-the-things-we-planned-or-hoped-for-them-but-we-can-influence-it, I don’t know what is.

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Guess what, he made it to the list 16 boys going to the National training camp!

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Photo from http://www.jrnba.asia/philippines.

Let’s influence our kids’ dreams, we can help them dream for themselves and how they can make their way to achieve it.

To learn more about Alaska Milk and its roster of sporting programs, log on to www.playph.com, Basketball clinic locations can also be found on www.facebook.com/jrnbaphilippines.

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