VETERANS in different sports have been tapped to help kids get started properly in their chosen fields as the Alaska Power Camps open this summer.
Jeffrey Cariaso, former PBA head coach and currently an assistant with the Alaska Aces, takes charge of the basketball camps. Camp project director Tomas Lozano, himself a former pro athlete, will oversee football, and star spiker Michele Gumabao will lead a team of volleyball experts in teaching aspiring young girls.
“(Alaska’s) romance with sports started in 1972… since then we never looked back,” said Blen Fernando, Alaska Marketing Director during the press launch at the Holiday Inn Makati, noting that the first Power Camp took place in 1994 as part of its commitment to help provide proper nutrition and promote an active lifestyle.
“The Philippines is a country where malnutrition is high. About 22 percent of adults are overweight and 6 percent of children, especially in urban areas, are going in that direction,” he added, stressing the need to get more kids active. “This is not just brand-building for Alaska but a commitment for nation-building.”
The basketball camp, re-launched in 2010 under former Alaska star Jojo Lastimosa, has averaged around 100 kids in each of its seven locations around the country. Assisting the camps that teach budding ballers fundamentals as well as invaluable values such as teamwork and sportsmanship are race directors like Aces shooter Dondon Hontiveros in Cebu and coach Topex Robinson in Lucena and Subic.
Meanwhile, Gumabao looks forward to her second straight stint as the camp director for Alaska’s volleyball camps.
“I really saw the need and the potential as well as Alaska’s passion in the need to develop young players," explained Gumabao. "Volleyball has reached its popularity only in recent years, and in my time as a grade school and high school student, camps like this were very rare and hard to join. If your school did not have that passion for sports, it was very hard for the players to have that as well."
“I was really focused on academics in high school so I was really shocked with the whole collegiate scene in the UAAP. So when I graduated from DLSU, I made it a choice and a passion to help young girls who don’t have that experience and that confidence when they were young with the means of learning even outside school during summer,” she added
Lozano, on the other hand, has been running football camps in the last 20 years within Metro Manila, but has since expanded his reach to provinces like Baguio, Tarlac, Laguna and Pangasinan with Alaska’s help.
“From the past, we had many national players come from our programs from different schools. Nowadays we have less. We have mostly (foreigner) Azkals who have no history with the Philippines. But I believe little by little the number of Azkals will be reduced until we have all the wonderful Filipino kids from our country,” Lozano said.
The camps will end with tournaments for all of the kids who participated to test just how much they've improved and to add the element of fun competition.
Participants can register online via the following websites: