I'm presently pre-occupied with this team of 18 kids, aged 14-16, presently competing at the National Basketball Traning Center-Developmental League. I was chosen as the Head Coach of the Purefoods BMeg-owned team, which represents Batangas City in the four-team South Luzon leg of this Samahan ng Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SPB)-sanctioned tournament. The Aim is to find talents for future national youth teams.
We practice three times a week, after classes. We follow modules provided by the National Director of NBTC, Coach Eric Altamirano and National Training Director, Alex Compton. Together with my two assistant coaches, EN Aguba (of University of Batangas) and Onin Agoncillo (of De La Salle Lipa), we attended a coaches' workshop held at the ULTRA just before the official practices began. Official practices began on October 1. The first game was October 25, after a colorful opening at the ULTRA.
The team is composed of 6 players from the University of Batangas, 4 players from De La Salle Lipa, 3 players from Marian Learning Center and Science High School, 2 from St. Bridget College (High School Department), 2 from Batangas State University (High School department)and 1 from Sta. Teresa College (Bauan). We concentrate on teaching the fundamentals. One hour per practice is devoted to individual skills. The idea is not so much in winning games but how to play the game with correct fundamentals.
As of this date, we are 1-1; We played marvelously against Cavite which boasts of 4 players at 6'8". However, we were made to play twenty minutes after our win against a well-rested Lucena team, which clobbered us by 22 points. We were in the game only during the first quarter. The boys simply could not keep up with the taller and well-rested opponents. The way I looked at it, we are the shortest team. Our tallest is only 6'1.5". Laguna has more experienced players, heavy and tall, with three above 6'4". Lucena has at least 2 6'5" players. We'll see how we managed.
The boys are enjoying the learning experience!