Second generation players shine in Jr NBA Philippines training camp

The 2017 Jr NBA and Jr WNBA All-star team are comprised of Kenji Duremdes, Joachim ‘Echo’ Laure, Victorino ‘Dietherd’ Torres, Jeryk Dwight Bait, Ian Dominic Espinosa, John Del Austria, Jan Clement Macalalag, Reinhard Jumamoy, Chinnsai Demana, Camille Nolasco, Lindsey Nacional, Jeehan Nikale Ahmed, Gracey Aine de Mesa, Jane Araza, Jasmine Ann Maniquiz and Bonie Marylene Solis. (Photo by Jamil Buergo)


After four months and four Regional Selection camps attended by thousands of aspirants, the search for the 2017 Jr NBA and Jr WNBA presented by Alaska all-star team concluded on Sunday which include sons of familiar names who played in the Philippine Basketball Association, at the Music Hall of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

Kenji Duremdes, son of former PBA MVP Kenneth Duremdes, and Eddie Laure’s son Joachim ‘Echo’ Laure spearhead the eight boys selected in the 2017 Jr NBA All-star team.

Incidentally, Duremdes and Laure had stints with the Alaska Aces.

The young Duremdes (La Salle Greenhills) and Laure (UST) are joined by Victorino ‘Dietherd’ Torres (La Salle Greenhills), Jeryk Dwight Bait (Batangas Eastern College), Ian Dominic Espinosa (Ateneo de Iloilo), John Del Austria (Eskuela de Sophia of Caloocan), Jan Clement Macalalag (La Salle Greenhills), and Reinhard Jumamoy (University of San Carlos-North Campus).

The 2017 Jr WNBA All-star team is comprised of Chinnsai Demana (University of Visayas), Camille Nolasco (Miriam College), Lindsey Nacional (La Salle College Antipolo), Jeehan Nikale Ahmed (Chiang Kai Shek College), Gracey Aine de Mesa (Lucena City National HS), Jane Araza (Chiang Kai Shek College), Jasmine Ann Maniquiz (St. Paul College Pasig), and Bonie Marylene Solis (Chiang Kai Shek College).

Of the 72 players that made it to the 3-day National Training Camp conducted by Jr NBA Coach Chris Sumner and local Jr NBA coaches headed by PBA legend Jeffrey Cariaso, eight boys and eight girls were selected to the Jr NBA/WNBA all-star team. The boys and girls endured the various vital tests, skills challenges, team drills and scrimmages conducted in the first two days of the camp at Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati before heading over to Mall of Asia for the final selection process.

Echo Laure and Camille Nolasco were later named as Alaska Ambassadors while Kenji Duremdes and Bonie Solis were named Jr NBA and Jr WNBA MVPs respectively.

Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton Jr. and former WNBA player Sue Wicks graced the three-day National Training Camp. The NBA visitors took some time with the kids in sharing their knowledge of the game. Previous NBA and WNBA players who have graced the Jr NBA Philippines events are Tina Thompson, Ruth Riley, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, B.J. Armstrong, A.C. Green, Luc Longley, Muggsy Bogues, Gordon Hayward, Nerlens Noel, and Norris Cole.

Jr NBA Philippines visitor Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton Jr (Photo by Richard Esguerra)
Jr NBA Philippines visitor Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton Jr (Photo by Richard Esguerra)

Payton was the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, then was immediately traded to the Orlando Magic for Dario Saric, a future first-round pick, and a future second-round pick. On his third year playing for the Orlando Magic, he averaged 12.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game. In 2013, Elfrid made it to the US Men’s Basketball squad that played in the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship.  He averaged 6.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in nine games.

US Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Sue Wicks (Photo by Richard Esguerra)
US Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Sue Wicks (Photo by Richard Esguerra)

Sue Wicks played for New York Liberty from 1997 to 2002. The sixth overall pick in the 1997 WNBA draft was named to the 2000 All-Star. She also won the gold medal as part of the US Women’s Basketball team in the 1987 Pan-American games. Wicks was inducted to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in June 2013.

Dikembe Mutombo made a suprise appearance in this year's Jr NBA Philippines National Training Camp (Photo by Jamil Buergo)
Dikembe Mutombo made a suprise appearance in this year’s Jr NBA Philippines National Training Camp (Photo by Jamil Buergo)

A surprise visit from 18-year NBA veteran Dikembe Mutombo also highlighted the event. The 4-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year awardee came to the Jr NBA National Training Camp event as a delegate from the Jr NBA Asia Advisory Council, where SM Prime Holdings President Hans Sy and Alaska Milk Corp. President and CEO Wilfred Steven Uytengsu are also a member of.

The 2017 Jr NBA and Jr WNBA all-stars will represent country in the Jr NBA Asia camp where they will meet Jr NBA and Jr WNBA players from Southeast Asia later in the year. Included in their trip is a live NBA viewing experience also later this year.

Meanwhile, Jed Cabellon and Katrina Biongcog were feted as 2017 Jr NBA and Jr WNBA coach of the year respectively.