MANILA, Philippines—Only 13 years old, basketeer Stephen Jimenez already stands at 6-foot-3.
Although a natural choice to play center, the “Higanteng Magilas” program aims to convert Jimenez into a point guard.
“I have nothing against players like JV Casio and Jimmy Alapag who are good small guards, but it’s high time that we develop taller point guards for future tournaments abroad,” project director Allan Gregorio said during the recent launch of the point guard academy at a Taguig restaurant.
“Other countries already have 6’2” and 6’3” players who are already playing point guards.”
Letran’s Louie Alas, NLEX’s Boyet Fernandez, Meralco’s Ryan Gregorio and Ronnie Magsanoc and Shopinas’ Franz Pumaren are among the topnotch coaches who will be part of the training program.
“The players who will be discovered will be trained by these coaches,” said Gregorio. “We will give these players scholarships.”
The program, bankrolled by sportsman Bert Lina and backed by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, will divide the talents into age groups of 8-12 and 13-15.
“We’re doing this not just in Metro Manila, but also in the provinces,” said Lina, noting that the academy can serve as a pool for the national youth squad.
“It’s more ideal to train them at an early age,” said Gregorio.