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NBTC alums Kiefer and Baser, Alyssa share blessing to Eastern Samar

By now, everyone knows the journey of the boys from Dolores National High School from Samar to Manila.

The young kids had to endure a 20-hour ride in a cramped van inside a vessel ship just to get to the 2019 Chooks-to-Go/NBTC National Finals at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. And once they were able to get back, they got to sleep in a comfortable bed — a luxury the teenagers did not have back home.

“Sa totoo lang, yung experience na makapasok sa hotel, overwhelming sa amin dahil first time ng mga bata na makahiga sa malambot na kama sa magarang room.

“Dahil sa katuwaan, nag-selfie muna kami at pinost sa Facebook bilang tanda na nagpapasalamat kami at overwhelmed kami na maganda ang accomodation namin. Dahil sa NBTC, nakatira kami sa maganda na class na hotel, may TV, may aircon,” expressed Dolores head coach Roy Lobrigas.

“Yung ibang players ko, di nila alam gumamit ng shower. Tabo at timba lang sa amin eh,” he quipped.

Upon reading about their story, the team received an outpouring of support from various sectors. And to further inspire the kids, young superstars Kiefer Ravena, Baser Amer, and Alyssa Valdez invited the kids to a surprise dinner Friday evening at Mang Inasal in SM Mall of Asia.

“They were such an inspiration, not only for the basketball players, but for everybody else like me, Baser, and Alyssa.

“Every now and then, we encounter such stories na talagang nakakainspire and I think it was just our duty to give back and gusto lang naming makatulong sa mga players. We reached out to them and spent time with the kids,” shared Ravena, an NBTC alumnus.

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For his part, Amer experienced first hand how the NBTC changed his life. Before entering San Beda, the heady floor general was an out of school youth. Through basketball, he was able to find a scholarship until he was able to finish college.

And it’s something he hopes that will happen to the 12 kids.

“Nagpapasalamat kami kay coach Eric [Altamirano], kay coach Alex [Compton], at kay tita Marissa [Altamirano] kasi may NBTC na Luzon, Visayas, at Mindanao, kahit malayong lugar, nabibigyan ng chance yung kabataan kaya talagang nagpapasalamat ako na may ganoong story pala na same sa akin,” admitted Amer.

“Sobrang hirap kasi hindi ko akalain na makakapag aral ako sa San Beda at makakapag-PBA ako. As in, walang pagkain, di namin alam ang kakainin namin.”

Besides giving shoes and meals to the kids, the trio also made sure to talk to each and every one of the teenagers.

For Alyssa Valdez, it made her look back to the time she was a dreamer from Batangas. Back then, she took in all the advice she got from her idols.

“Ang masasabi ko lang, I was once like them na its so hard to get to Manila coming from the province. Being just here and seeing all these amazing athletes, its a nice experience. For me, its just the beginning. Kung itong maliit na bagay nagawa ko ngayon, what more if I dream bigger?,” said Valdez, a five-time PVL MVP.

“I think yung way of thinking nila, everything is possible when you believe kay Lord and if you have that goal in mind na gusto mo talagang marating.”

Seeing the kids happy, NBTC Eastern Visayas commissioner Wilmar Candido hopes that the kids from Dolores will not forget this moment.

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“Grabe. Very inspiring and encouraging lalo na sa mga batang ito. Like Kiefer said, theyre a great example to the Eastern Samar players. When we go back, we will bring this experience na these three guys, magiging parte na ng buhay namin. Imagine superstars pero hindi kami nakalimutan, may mga tao pala na ganoon,” Candido expressed.

“Talagang si Lord, hindi kami pinapabayaan.”

And someday, these kids will be the ones paying it forward to a new generation.

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