The Titan Basketball Academy just finished its 6th week and it featured professional ballers from the PBA as guest coaches. Deer Valley Titans Mark Barocca, Marc Pingris, PJ Simon, and Tony Dela Cruz were present to help out in our elite grassroots program.
We had a chance to talk to our DVT guys about the Academy:
What makes the Titan Basketball Academy unique?
Mark Barocca: Siyempre ‘yung iba-ibang coaches. Meron galing sa PBA pati sa college level. Meron pang international coaches kaya kakaiba talaga siya, may mga bagong skills na na-dedevelop.
Marc Pingris: Katulad nga ng sabi ni Mark, maraming coach kaya iba-ibang idea ang makukuha ng mga bata dito sa Titan Basketball Academy. Unique din siya kasi dati kami naglalaro lang sa mga kanto-kanto tapos ngayon kumpleto na mga equipment pati magandang facility. Matuturuan talaga sila nang maayos.
PJ Simon: For me, very unique ang Titan Basketball Academy dahil sa mga coaches. Puro professional basketball players tulad ko, si Mark, at si Ping. Napaka-advanced na 'yung training kaya napaganda talaga ng programang ito. Swerte 'yung mga bata kasi 'yung mga tinuturo dito parehas din sa mga tinuturo sa PBA.
Tony Dela Cruz: Being a part of Titan this whole time, I've seen the outreach they've done in the communities and now we see the sponsorships they've done for teams, but you see how they're trying to make a culture of elite basketball. It's pretty cool to see how Titan transpired and I'm really honored to be a part of this program.
How important is it for the kids to learn about the fundamentals at this age?
MB: Kadalasan kasi sa college may mga players pa na hindi alam ‘yung basic. At least ngayon pa lang 8-10 years old alam na yung fundamentals so advantage sa kanila ‘yon.
MP: Importante kasi sa basketball 'yung basic. Doon mo mare-realize 'yung mga basic pala 'yung malaking bagay pagnaglalaro ka na ng basketball. Mabuti dito at matutunan na nila ngayon.
PS: Napaka-importante na matutuno na sila ngayon kasi even the PBA guys, tinuturo pa rin sa amin ang mga fundamentals. Dito ko talaga nakikita ang potential ng mga bata lalo na ibang level 'yung pagturo sa kanila dito.
TDLC: I think that's what truly holds us back from making it to the world stage. If we can set the grassroots programs with great fundamentals, great workout habits, great mental habits, this generation of basketball players will grow up and become Olympians. A lot of these kids will say "I wanna be like Steph Curry" right away without even knowing what Steph Curry's doing or what Kobe or LeBron does everyday. It's up to us to show them how it's done.
As a pro basketball player, how does it feel to be giving back to the youth?
MB: Siyempre masaya kasi nga binabalik lang namin sa mga bata ‘yung mga natutunan namin noong panahon namin. Kailangan din namin turuan 'yung mga bata kasi sila ang future ng basketball dito sa atin. Happy talaga ako sa ganitong moments kasama ang mga bata.
MP: I'm happy na isa ako sa mga nagtuturo kasi dati naaalala ko 'yung mga iniidolo ko tulad nina Danny Ildefonso, sila 'yung nagtuturo sa akin. Tumaas 'yung confidence ko sa kanila at sana 'yun din makuha ng bata na ito mula sa akin.
PS: It's time to give back. All throughout the years, sa experience namin sa PBA, kung ano 'yung tinuturo sa amin ang sarap ng pakiramdam na binabalik namin ito sa mga kabataan ngayon. Hopefully dahil sa amin, makita ang improvement nila.
TDLC: Your time here isn't definite. I'm not just talking about my professional career but also my mortality. You can go anytime and I've been fortunate enough to learn from great coaches. I'm still learning everyday and if I can help a young kid whether it's a boy or a girl, I'll tell them that I didn't make certain teams or I know what it's like to be cut, I know what it's like to not get what you want. But I also know what it's like to work every single day and just get in the gym and focus. If I can give back in that way, I want to affect those kids that feel like they don't have a chance because they're not the best athlete or not the most gifted. They're the future and I'll do my best to help out.
Now that the academy’s about to finish, what advice can you give to the young kids?
MB: Gusto ko lang sabihin sa mga bata na hindi natatapos ang basketball dito. Sana gawin nila ito sa bahay at ipagpatuloy lang nila ang pagpa-practice.
MP: Sana hindi matapos ang pangarap nila dito. Kahit matapos na ang Titan Basketball Academy sana ipagpatuloy pa nila 'yung pag-practice para sa kinabukasan nila.
PS: Sabi nga namin ni Mark at Ping, napaka-importante ang discipline. Dapat masipag ka. Keep pushing kahit matapos na ito at sana marami silang natutunan mula sa Titan.
TDLC: It doesn't stop here. We tell them every week to not just practice basketball on Sundays in the Academy. You need to practice every single day and you need to prioritize what's important to you. If you're a student you should balance out studying and basketball. If you really wanna be a good basketball player you should find the time. Coach Su said a really cool quote when he said, "You need to take 'extra work' out of your vocabulary. It should be just 'work'. If you wanna be a good basketball player, you have to put in work. It's not even extra work."
Make sure to follow @titan_basketball_academy on Instagram for more news and updates as we're about to conclude the Titan Basketball Academy with just two weeks left.