INTERNATIONAL trainer Drew Dunlop has been impressed with the basketball IQ of the current crop of high school players in the country, particularly those who will be playing for the upcoming SLAM Rising Stars Classic this Sunday at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City.
Dunlop supervised the combine and practice sessions of the 24 players picked to play in the fourth addition of the annual high school All-Star Game between Team Punks and Team Hype.
“They are really good and they have a high level of individual skills. They pick things up fast and they are passionate about the game,” said Dunlop, who has years of experience in performance, strength and conditioning, and player development coaching.
The members of Team Punks coached by PBA legend Willie Miller and assistant Gian Nazario of La Salle Zobel are Sam Abu Hijleh of San Beda, John Lloyd Clemente of National University, Guilmer Dela Torre of Arellano, Aaron Fermin of Arellano, Dave Ildefonso of Ateneo, Troy Mallillin of La Salle Greenhills, Unique Naboa of La Salle Greenhills, Miguel Oczon of Chiang Kai Shek College, Harvey Pagsanjan of Hope Christian High School, Karl Penano of NU, Kenji Roman of Far Eastern University, and Jasper Salenga of Mapua.
Team Hype, coached by Alaska forward Tony Dela Cruz and assisted by Ateneo mentor Joe Silva, is composed of Carlo Abadeza of Arellano, Rhayyan Amsali of NU, LJ Gonzales of FEU, Winderlich Coyoca of NU, Juan Gomez de Liano of University of the Philippines Integrated School, Will Gozum of Mapua, Rom Junsay of Mapua, Germy Mahinay of San Beda, Robert Minerva of Chiang Kai Shek College, Martin Romero of La Salle Zobel, Joshua Tagala of San Beda, and Jonas Tibayan of Chiang Kai Shek College.
Dunlop is the co-founder of ADVAN3 Training, an online training companion for players, and was formerly a player development consultant for Talk ‘N Text and NLEX, strength and conditioning coach of the Guangdong Winnerway Basketball Club, and performance coach of ATTACK Athletics.
Dunlop said it was the first time he held a session with Filipino high school players.
“It’s an eye opener for me. I couldn’t be happier being part of the group. It’s an honor to work with the new generation of Gilas, college, and PBA players,” Dunlop said.
Dunlop held “pro-style stuff” drills and was left impressed with how the high schoolers easily picked it up.
“We teach them some pro-style stuff — handling the ball against pressure, shooting at game speed and being contested. We also put a team concept to it — learning to space the floor, how to balance it, if your teammate drives, how do you relocate yourself — just trying to teach them play with IQ so that they are instinctive," he said.
“They made mistakes as expected because my goal is to give them something they've never seen before. But they stayed after it, picked it up, three, four, five reps, they perfected it,” added Dunlop.