Laying the foundation for talent

  • Scoreboard
  • Tuesday, 07 Mar 2017

Joselito (left) leading a drill on defence with the Jr NBA alumni.

Just like how bodies need nourishment to grow, athletic skills also require constant sharpening to stay on top of the game.

Dutch Lady Malaysia recently gave young rising stars of Malaysian basketball an opportunity to train under the KL Dragons Basketball Academy.

The Dutch Lady Alumni Stars Training Camp in Cyberjaya saw participation of 10 budding cagers from the Jr NBA Malaysia youth basketball programme.

Supported by Dutch Lady Malaysia since 2014, the camp marked the first time that players from 2014 to the most recent 2016 cohort got to hone their skills on the same court.

Dutch Lady Malaysia marketing director Ashlee Ng said the brand’s goal was to encourage young sportsmen to continue their momentum in basketball and take their talents as far as they could, even to the point of pursuing a career as professional players.

She added that the “Drink. Move. Be Strong” Training Camp was a great platform for the brand to catch up with previous Jr NBA talents, track their progress and sharpen their skills.

KL Dragons Basketball Academy coaches, including Joselito Vergara, led the players through the intensive training schedule.

The players began their warm-ups and morning jogs from as early as 7am, then continued with conditioning drills, gym sessions, team building sessions and five hours of basketball training.

On the last day of the training camp, the participants had to put their new moves into practice during a friendly match with the Malaysian men’s junior national basketball team.

Pang Kin Sing, voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) among the Jr NBA Malaysia Alumni, was grateful for the knowledge gained from the KL Dragons coaches.

He was taught strategies for attacking and defence as well as a trick to score without even needing to dribble the ball.

Even though the 15-year-old has been playing basketball for five years, he firmly believes in continuous improvement. After all, his motto is “doing your best is not enough.”

Sin Chun Kit, who was named the MVP for Jr NBA Malaysia 2016, said that drinking milk had made a difference to his energy levels.

He made drinking a packet of Dutch Lady milk at breakfast a habit and has another before he sleeps at night.

Compared to his peers, Chun Kit is a petite player and he hopes that the calcium in milk will help him grow taller. In fact, he started playing basketball at the age of nine for the same reason.

Now 15, he loves the sport for allowing him to meet new teammates and make new friends easily.

“During this Alumni Stars Training Camp, I have learnt that teamwork is only possible if we maintain a positive attitude and sportsmanship whether we win or lose.

“The coaches taught me that we should not only respect our own team members but our competitors as well,” he said.

His teammate Connor Clyde Chua, found the training camp to be valuable as a refresher course.

“Although I have been playing basketball for 10 years, I have continued to learn new moves and strategies. The downside of this is that I tend to forget the basics that I have learnt in my early years of playing, and those are important foundations as well.

“I’m really happy this training camp gave me the opportunity to strengthen my foundation and build more advanced moves,” the 17-year-old said.

Impressed with the participants, Joselito thinks that they have what it takes to make it big in basketball in the future.

“Their biggest strength is in their openness to learn, and training camps like this is a big motivation for them to practise more,” he said.

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