Jong Uichico hopes high school teams find balance between player development and winning games
Jong Uichico laments the trend in high school basketball that puts too much focus on winning than on developing young cagers. Reuben Terrado

JONG Uichico hopes that local high school basketball adopts the European way of developing players rather than teams putting too much focus on winning.

Uichico made the observation ahead of his brief return to the high school game through the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) where he will coach the North team in the All-Star Game that will take place on Thursday.

“I guess, ngayon, it’s like sa high school, it comes down to winning,” said Uichico. “When it comes down to winning, which every game comes down to winning naman, nawawala ‘yung concept ng turo.”

The PBA champion coach said some teams are resorting to giving the ball to their best player in hopes of winning more games for the school, which he thinks is detrimental to the development of individual skills of the other players as well as to instilling the value of team basketball on the youth.

“Kunwari, 6-10, he is a dominant figure in his high school. So as a coach, if I want to win, bigay ko lang sa kanya ‘yung bola and nobody can stop him. But how could you teach that person or the other players in the team? The team concept and the concept of how to play the game, medyo nawawala ang emphasis,” said Uichico.

“Malay ba natin kung magiging dominant ‘yung isang player sa college when he doesn’t know what to do when the ball is no longer in his hands. That is what is happening, I think,” he added.

Uichico said he had personally saw that trend when his son was in grade school and high school.

“That happened to my son na siya ang malaki dun. Pagdating ng college, anong position ko? The bottom line kasi is winning, kailangan eh. Nahirapan ngayon siya na mag-transition from high school to a new position in college,” Uichico said.

Due to the emphasis on winning in the high school level, Uichico said there are still some players in the PBA who have struggled to adapt in the pro game.

“In the PBA, you are supposed to be finished products. But surprisingly, there are still unfinished products in the PBA. So dapat, dito tayo mag-umpisa,” said Uichico.

Uichico also cited the European way of teaching basketball in the grassroots level where players are taught to play different aspects of the game.

“That is why the Europeans shoot the three, can put the the ball on the floor, can face up, can play back to the basket. That is because they are accustomed to that even during high school or grade school na skill set na nila ‘yun. They can just adjust to any position for college or the NBA,” said Uichico.


Uichico said the concept of teaching, particularly the European style, as early as high school will be beneficial for those players who are eyeing to play college or even pro ball.

“It’s the coach that should upgrade their level of play,” said Uichico.

“Since you taught them the right way in high school, mas madali na sila mag-adopt sa college and PBA,” said Uichico.

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