Ateneo de Manila team holds basketball tryouts in US

CHICAGO — For the very first time, Ateneo de Manila, one of the top universities in the Philippines, went to Illinois recently to select two players to join its basketball teams.

The tryouts were held in Downers Grove, where over 50 applicants showed off their athletic skills.

One male and one female will be selected for a free college education at the Ateneo, free dormitory, and an all-expense paid trip to the Philippines.

Coach John Flores says — they had to be creative and had to go outside the Philippines to pick new players.

“Ang problema kasi, first time inimplement three years ago ‘yung K-12 program. The last three years sa Philippines, walang ga-graduate. Ang unang batch na ga-graduate ng high school eh sa 2018,” Flores said. “So kailangan naming mag load ng players para sa team namin kaya kami pumupunta dito.”

When Anthony Gino-gino found out that there was a tryout, he could not be more excited for his 17-year old daughter Angel, who has been playing basketball since she was five.

“It is fulfilling as a parent kasi hindi lahat ng kids nabibigyan ng opportunity to play for a university in the Philippines.”

For Gino-Gino’s daughter, if she gets lucky enough to be picked, she says she is willing to give up being part of the Windy City All-Star team, a top-notch basketball team in the midwest.

“It will be a dream come true because I’ll be able to represent my country and it’s one of the known schools.”

When asked what is Ateneo’s philosophy when it comes to sports and studies, Flores says, “We don’t just look at the student athletes as ‘players’. We look at them as human beings who have needs and whose future you want to guide.” 

Digna Ramirez was willing to drive far as far as 13 hours, just to support her son.

“Almost 13 hours. We’re from Canada,” he said. “Kung ito ‘yung gusto ng anak ko, suporta lang tayo bilang magulang.”

The Ateneo basketball recruiting team is headed to Seattle and LA to recruit more players. The final pick will be announced very soon.


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