RAYMOND Townsend, the first Fil-American to play in the NBA, gave an inspirational talk before some 50 Fil-foreign high school and college players pooled together by Barangay Ginebra coach Jeffrey Cariaso on Saturday in San Francisco, California.
The Fil-American Ginebra mentor said the presence of the 58-year-old Townsend was a big inspiration for the Fil-Am ballers present, especially those who dreams of making it to the pro ranks, during the camp which Cariaso staged while on vacation in the Bay Area.
Cariaso quoted Townsend as saying, ‘Don't let anyone stop you from reaching your dreams. Work hard and better yourself everyday.”
Cariaso invited Fil-Am players to a camp to guide them about a basketball career in Manila, from college leagues like the UAAP and NCAA, to the D-League, or even the PBA, where he was a 10-time All-Star and won multiple championships with Alaska.
“This was really more to extend myself to the Bay Area kids who might want to try their luck in the Philippines,” the 41-year-old Cariaso told Spin.ph on Tuesday.
Townsend's presence was a big bonus to the atendees.
Townsend was a member of the 1975 UCLA Bruins team that won the US NCAA men’s basketball title under legendary coach John Wooden. He was selected 22nd overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 1978 NBA Draft and finished his career with the Indiana Pacers in 1982.
Townsend then took his act to Italy before retiring in 1985.
His father Ray Sr. is an American, while mother Virginia Marella is a Filipina from Balayan, Batangas.
Cariaso also shared to the Bay Area players his experience playing in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league, hopeful his talk could help them pursue their basketball dreams.
“It was about telling my story and hopefully, inspiring them (Bay Area players) to seek out their dreams,” said Cariaso, who also held a few drills and scrimmages for the Fil-foreign players.
“In case they need guidance, support, managing, I offered my help.”
Cariaso is set to return to Manila next week to begin Ginebra's preseason preparations.