SOME Filipino cagers have turned to the Asia Pacific region to make a name and just see action while basketball in the Philippines is at a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While Ken Tuffin is leading the way for Fil-Kiwis in the New Zealand National Basketball League, one Pinoy teenager has already been making waves in Australia for half a decade without much fanfare.
Andrei Kyle Honrada has been playing varsity basketball at Oakhill College in Sydney and is one of the stars of the Hills Hornets Under-14 team, racking up awards since 2015 when he played good enough to make the U-12 Division 2 side at age 9.
Now 14, the Australia-raised pure Pinoy point guard has continued to hone his craft, standing tall even at 5’5” with his shifty moves and long range that have left crowds in awe.
His impressive play has also earned him an invitation to a prestigious international event.
After steering the Hornets to the U-14 Australian Club Championships last year, Honrada was selected to the Asia Pacific team that was supposed to take part in the Jr. NBA Global Championship this month in Florida.
He was one of just two Hornets players who Basketball Australia picked to be part of the Jr. NBA team.
“I felt like I was getting recognized for my ability to play basketball and felt happiness that I got chosen,” Honrada said in an online message.
“I'm glad that I made it in as I was hoping for this for a long time and being recognized as one of the top in the country made me feel excited,” he added.
Honrada patterns his game after that of Kyrie Irving, but lists Michael Jordan as his favorite player even after being born eight years after the GOAT won his last NBA championship with the Chicago Bulls in 1998 and three years after Jordan retired for good in 2003.
Andrei was supposed to fly to Florida to showcase his development in the Jr. NBA event this month, but COVID-19 reduced the event into a virtual one, where players were tasked to complete shooting and dribbling challenges at home instead.
Still, it has been a fruitful year for Honrada, who emerged as the top offensive player in the U-14 Oakhill College team, was elevated to the Hornets’ U-16 Division 1 team at age 14, and was one of 10 players invited to join pro club Sydney Kings’ Elite Junior Developmental Camp.
But the work doesn’t stop for Honrada, who dreams of making it to the NBA.
"The steps I want to take are also the dream, such as making it to a Division I college and setting a name for myself," Andrei said.
"My plans moving on is to work harder than everyone when people are off the court, I’m on the court. There is no time to waste. I have to work harder than the people. I have to put the effort in," he concluded.