CEBU CITY - The Jr. NBA Philippines 2017 presented by Alaska Cebu Regional Selection Camp got a very special guest as the “Cebuano Hotshot” Dondon Hontiveros graced the two-day event, which began on Saturday at the Don Bosco Technology Center.
The Alaska Aces veteran shared that when he was starting off his career, he never had opportunities to participate in such intensive and scientific training sessions.
So, he urged the youngsters to take advantage of the sessions, which were supervised by both local and Manila-based Jr. NBA coaches such as Christian Luanzon, Erick dela Cuesta and Louie Gonzalez among many others.
PBA great Jeffrey Cariaso will be flying in to join the second day of the camp on Sunday.
“It’s very encouraging and inspiring. Some kids were already here as early as 6 a.m. and they had to wait an hour or two to register. To see them do that and be excited, makanumdum what it used to be like for us. It’s inspiring and refreshing for all of us to see,” said Hontiveros from his old high school stomping grounds.
“It’s really a huge advantage for them to have this kind of experience,” he added.
The former University of Cebu star also encouraged the kids to work more on their fundamentals in an era where crossovers and stepback three-pointers are the norm.
“They should get an hour or two just to work on your game. Dribbling, shooting, etc. I started with shooting kay di na man ako matangkad noon. I had speed but I wasn’t the fastest so in order to be an asset on the team, I really had to be the best shooter or one of the best,” added Hontiveros.
Jr. NBA coach Chris Sumner related that apart from the obvious skills that most of the campers had, it was their “effort and energy” that stood out.
“Energy and effort. That’s something you can’t teach but it’s contagious. As coaches, we can teach you what you need to know but we can’t teach you energy and effort. I’m just happy to see kids on the sidelines, picking up a ball and practicing when they’re not doing drills. I’m very encouraged to see those things and it can lead to good things for them,” said Sumner.
On Day Two, participants will have more intense drills, team activities and scrimmages that will determine the level of their basketball skills.
"We’re testing the five different fundamentals today and some of those things are going to be infused with what we do tomorrow. We’re going to play some five-on-five, see how they move on the court, what kind of teammates they are. It’s not just going to be about skills but also the intangibles,” added Sumner.