Former PBA pro and current Alaska Aces assistant coach Jeffrey Cariaso could only joke when asked whether the players at the SLAM Rising Stars Classic were already better than him when he was the same age as the high school ballers.
“Of course not. Not at all,” Cariaso said in jest, before praising the teenagers for a show they put on Sunday night.
“I am really proud of these guys, prior to the game I met with them for about five minutes. I just let them know it is special that they are here. I wanted them to showcase their talents and play the right way and they did that. I am really happy about that,” Cariaso said.
And as for keeping up with the rest of the world in terms of basketball fundamentals and skills, Cariaso sees more versatile Filipino players in the years to come.
“It’s really just them running with the time. Like right now there is a call for bigger guys to shoot and handle the ball, there’s a call for shooting deep threes. What is good is within the next five years we will see an influx of guys really extending how far they can shoot and how well they can play,” he said.
“Everyone is solid. Everyone showed what they can do and the comments I’ve been getting from people is that wow, everyone here can play. And it’s true.”
Ateneo High School head coach Joe Silva, who handled Team Hype in the exhibition match, also had high remarks for the talents and skills shown by the high school ballers in the match.
“As a high school coach, I am really very proud. At least there is recognition given to these high school boys. The game has changed a lot. Players now are better than players before. They can do everything,” Silva said.
The mentor added that it will be an advantage for the country in general to see the players adjust their games to meet the standards of the world at a young age.
“Basketball has evolved tremendously in the country. If you can see, big guys can shoot already, smalls can post up. (Basketball positions) have evolved a lot and it is very advantageous for us in international competition,” Silva shared.
“Training now is very different. Basketball now is very scientific, technology-based. Before, walang mga strength and conditioning, so ngayon may weight training na yang mga bata, scouting is very important in a game, players being able to go out of town or out of the country to play games. Basketball has changed and maganda na paangat yung basketball sa Pilipinas.”