THE first NBA veteran-led basketball youth camp on Saipan ended with festivities yesterday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gym.
Participants in the four-day cage clinic received certificates of attendance and achievements, t-shirts and balls and had their shirts, caps and other personal belongings signed by NBA veteran David Wood.
As a bonus, Wood put off a little show, making a couple of slams, which delighted the crowd. The Men抯 Nationals?Jeremy Winkfield and Oscar Ada and volunteer Jason Gait of Youth With A Mission also joined the special show with the crowd of about 200 participants, parents and supporters cheering them on.
The last day of the series of clinics started with basketball matches in the 8 to 12 and 13 to 17 age groups.
Wood, clinic director Richard Dankworth, Dan Dix and Mike Brown of the University of the Nations?volunteers and members of the Men抯 and Women抯 Nationals used the six goals at the Ada Gym to hold six games simultaneously.
Teams in each age group were given five minutes to play and apply what they learned from the clinic. The participants were also given a chance to play against several members of the Nationals with Wood officiating in the game.
The Nationals and the camp participants played for eight minutes with Wood letting five players play for about a minute before fielding another group of five cagers.
The series of matches were held to determine the top performers in the four-day clinic.
Trishia Catalla and Mechiko Tenorio won the Most Valuable Player award in the girls?13 to 17 and 8 to 12 age groups, respectively. Robert Naraja took the MVP plum in the boys' 13 to 17 division, while Antonio Bornilla claimed the MVP title in the younger age group.
The camp also recognized the top defensive and offensive players in the clinic. Eddie Manalili (8 to 12 age group) and Damian Deleon Guerrero (13 to 17) won the Offensive Player award in the boys division, while the girls?division had Mariana Taitano and Trishia Catalla winning the same title.
On defense, Jacob Palacios and Josh Moses topped the 8 to 12 and 13 to 17 age groups, respectively.
The girls' division had Tiana Quitugua (8 to 12 age group) and Lynette Babauta (13 to 17 age group) claiming the Defensive Player awards.
With the camp aiming to teach not only the fundamentals of basketball, but also to develop character among the youth, Wood抯 group cited several players who had shown positive attitudes on and off the court throughout the clinic.
They were Raymond Santos, Champ Untalan, Manuel Matagolai, Catalla, Babauta, Calvin Fejeran, Nate Mateo, Allen Moses, Guy Mosley, Jason Palacios, Vince Teregeyo, Anirut Tebuteb, Trisha Palacios, Brandon Torres, Mechiko Tenorio, Mariana Taitano, Janielle Pagsolingan and Jesse Santos.
At the end of the clinic, Wood thanked the kids for coming to the camp for four consecutive days and the parents for supporting this worthy activity.
He also encouraged the kids to continue improving their skills and aspire to be role models on and off the court.
"We抮e very happy to be here on Saipan sharing our knowledge of basketball and helping young kids develop character. This is one of the best things we抳e ever done. We thank the Nationals and the volunteers for being such a blessing and helping us out," said Wood, who will be leaving Saipan early Monday morning, along with the other delegates of the University of the Nations.
"It was a pleasure to be here, meeting the warm people of Saipan," Wood added.
(Courtesy of Variety News)