Selected from the Penang clinic are (holding bags, from left) Lim Hao Ke, 13, Ooi Yu Hern, 13, Pang Hai Wei, 13, Khor Kae Ning, 12, Yap Li Hui, 14, and Tan Jie Ning, 13.
Following a successful visit last year, Jr NBA Malaysia basketball talent programme presented by Dutch Lady, returned to Penang for a second time.
This year’s clinic in Penang reached 32 schools with participation from 400 boys and girls – double the number from last year.
The entire programme is expected to reach more than 6,000 boys and girls in more than 200 schools.
It will include a first-time stop in Johor Baru in search of local basketball talent to attend the Jr NBA Selection Camp in Kuala Lumpur, moving them one step closer to being named a 2017 Jr NBA Malaysia All-Star.
With the increased interest from girls, the programme has opened more slots for girls to participate. Eight boys and eight girls will be chosen as 2017 Jr NBA Malaysia All-Stars at a final selection camp.
The standout campers will embark on a unique, overseas NBA experience together with their counterparts from South-East Asia later in the year.
SMKA Perempuan Almashoor student Aufa Farzana said the programme caught her attention and interest when a teacher informed her of the clinic.
“Watching my older brother actively play basketball intrigued me to take part so that I can learn the skills and maybe challenge my brother to a game one day,” she said.
The Penang clinic culminated with the selection of two girls and four boys who will attend the selection camp in Kuala Lumpur from July 8 to 9.
“This is my first time playing basketball so being selected was certainly more than I could ask for. Watching female basketballers stirs me to pick up this sport because I admire the strength and charisma that they carry when they are in a game. After going through this clinic, I hope to represent my school one day,” said Yap Li Hui from SMK Taman Perwira.
The clinics were led by Joselito F. Vergara, along with coaches from the Westports Malaysia Dragons and the Penang State Education Department.
Participants were given training in the fundamentals of basketball and learned about the importance of nutrition as well as Jr NBA’s core values of sportsmanship, teamwork, positive attitude and respect.
Dutch Lady serves as the presenting partner of the Jr NBA programme in Malaysia for the fourth consecutive year as part of its “Drink. Move. Be Strong” platform to encourage an active lifestyle and a healthy diet among Malaysian children.
The selection camp in July will see the young cagers test their ability at skill stations and a final clinic on the first day, followed by scrimmages and final selections on the second day.
The top 32 boys and girls from the selection camp in Kuala Lumpur will be invited to participate in the Jr NBA National Training Camp in Kuala Lumpur from July 28 to 30, which will also be attended by a current or former NBA player.