DUMAGUETE CITY - PBA superstar James Yap is an inspiration to aspiring players, more so to his compatriots from Western Visayas at the Palarong Pambansa.
So much so that it has spawned a line of James Yap 'clones.'
In fact, one off guard from Iloilo who admits the San Mig superstar is his biggest idol has caught the attention of scouts for his hustle, impeccable shooting, and ability to penetrate - very much like Yap.
John Paul Calvo, a high school sensation from Iloilo, admires Yap so much that he not only tries to play like Yap but has also, wittingly on unwittingly, picked up the on-court mannerisms of his idol.
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Meanwhile, the basketball competitions of the 2013 Palarong Pambansa in Negros Oriental has lured several scouts of Metro Manila schools who are on the lookout for 'the next big thing.'
Among those seen scouting talents are Letran assistant coaches Ronjay Enrile and Gerard Francisco, new Mapua coach Atoy Co, coach Gerry Esplana of Emilio Aguinaldo College and former Far Eastern University head coach Bert Flores.
Francisco said schools really make it a point to send scouts to grassroots tournaments like the Palarong Pambansa which he said is a major source of basketball talent.
“Maganda itong Palarong Pambansa kasi 'yung mga iba na galing sa probinsya, hindi mo naman agad makikita yun. Dito ma-i-scout mo silang mabuti,” said Francisco, a former PBA player and team executive.
Other scouts, however, complained about the slim pickings, especially among big men.
“Big man ang hinahanap namin, kaso wala gaano malalaki ngayon. Kung meron man mas malimit mayroon ng may hawak (na ibang teams),” said Enrile.
“Maraming magagaling kaso hindi yun ang kailangan ko eh,” said 1979 PBA MVP Co. “Andaming nag-scout diyan. Parang palengke na rin ang dating. Agawan ng player.”
Still, Co said he is now keeping track of a big man who he plans to contact next week.