It was a tough defeat for Fil-Am Nation in the Division 1 Finals of the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) against National University Nazareth School, but for Caelum Harris, the experience was nothing short of amazing.
Having traveled all the way from the United States to the Philippines for the tournament, Harris was thrilled to immerse himself in the local culture and play against some of the best high school players in the country.
“It was a great experience,” the 6-foot-5 Harris shared.
“We have a lot of different cultural backgrounds and we have a lot of other people coming in, so it was a great experience playing here.”
Harris has previously represented the Philippines in the FIBA U16 Asian Championship, where he put up an impressive performance, averaging 10.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in the tournament.
He also trained with the seniors’ team for a while last year.
But this was his first actual taste of local competition. Despite it being tough, Harris was impressed by the level of talent and high IQ displayed by the Filipino players.
“There’s a lot of talent over here.
“I’m happy that I’ve played against all of ‘em. No one really impressed me the most [to be specific] because they all have really good talent and high IQ,” said the 18-year-old, 6-foot-5 athletic winger.
Even though Fil-Am Nation fell short in the NBTC National Finals with a 75-64 loss to the Bullpups, Harris emerged as one of the team’s bright spots. He contributed 10 points, five rebounds, an assist, two steals, and a block.
As he prepares to head back to the United States to play in AAU, Harris intends to make the most of his remaining time in the Philippines.
Despite being only a junior, Harris understands the value of taking in the cultural experience and making lasting memories.
For Harris, the NBTC tournament may be over, but his journey to discover his culture continues. The young athlete remains grateful for the opportunity to represent his team, and to have made lasting connections with players from all over the world.