Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Jojo Lastimosa and The Alaska Power Camp

Jojo Lastimosa and The Alaska Power Camp
             Jojo Lastimosa, one of PBA's 25 greatest players, stood in front of countless young basketball enthusiasts. He was demonstrating the right move in attacking the basket, dribbling to the right and, before making that final halt, making one big hop.  The player then, Lastimosa continued, can either go all the way to the basket or make a pass to an open teammate. That is a typical Lastimosa move, reminiscent of his prolific playing days many years back. This time, he acts as Camp Director of the much-sought after Alaska Basketball Power Camp.

             With the assistance of highly trained mentors, the Alaska Basketball Power Camp seeks to develop the youngsters' skills in shooting, dribbling, passing, rebounding and playing as part of a team.  Alaska Power Camp is emphasizing throughout the 8-day workout that one may turn out to be a good dribbler, or a good shooter, but that is not all there is to it.  One has to work hard, develop the right attitude and blend well with the rest of the team. Alaska Power Camp seeks to inculcate the values of hardwork, discipline, determination, excellence, teamwork and sportsmanship, among others.

              Sponsored by Alaska Milk, the Alaska summer camp is held every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Ateneo de Manila's college covered courts.  Participants' ages range from 12 below, and 13 yrs old up to 18 yrs old. Aside from the basic drills, campers undergo situational drills, where one is taught how to act and react in a given situation. And who else is in the best position to teach but the man they call Jolas who fought in countless court battles.

             In retrospect, I remember one instance, many summers ago, when Jojo was playing for the Alaska Aces.  And the Aces were playing against crowd favorite Ginebra San Miguel at the Philsports Arena. Jojo was guarding the legendary Robert Jaworski.  As Jaworski barreled his way to the basket, Jojo stood his ground and, in the ensuing play, the Big J took a spill and lost ball possession.  No calls were made.  In the next play, it was Jojo attacking the basket and the Big J guarding him. As Jojo was up in the air with his patented move, the wily Ginebra sentinel gave him a hefty shove and Jolas tumbled down the floor. Jojo picked himself up, smiled and positioned himself in the stripe for two shots. He did not retaliate. As he once said in a training session at the Alaska Power Camp, one has to be not only physically strong but also mentally tough.  After all, basketball is not only about skills.  It is also about attitude. And attitude is manifested in one's behavior on and off the court.  


Main road inside the Ateneo campus leading to the College Covered Courts

The College Covered Courts where the Alaska Power Camp is held every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.  There are other camps in selected areas.

One of the many ball racks at the summer camp.  While there are countless balls used during the training sessions or practices, there is only ONE OFFICIAL BALL during a regular game.  There are ten players fighting it out for  one ball.

Call time is 7: 30 AM.  Players start to assemble at a designated area.

Basketball all-time great Jojo Lastimosa starts by giving a pep talk to participants. He begins with senior players and then goes to the other groups. Take note of the white board and black board he uses as visual aids.

Jojo Lastimosa illustrates some important points which he wants to be carried out.

Jojo Lastimosa demonstrates what he has been saying earlier.

Jojo Lastimosa picks several players to join in the scrimmages.

Lastimosa tells participants that after making that one big hop, the player can go for the basket, or if defense is tight, he may opt to pass to an open teammate.  Participants get to interact with the basketball legend.

It is now the turn of the young boys to apply the techniques demonstrated by their mentor.  Lastimosa continues to monitor the activities.  He intervenes to make the necessary adjustments.

Alaska Power Camp seeks to inculcate a set of values which serve as building blocks of character development. One of these values is HARD WORK. You spend a great deal of time and effort to attain your goals.

Come what may, the player is firm in doing everything that will help him become an accomplished player. That is DETERMINATION.

DISCIPLINE is controlling oneself,  submitting to rules and regulations, policies and procedures laid out by authorities and recognizing the powers vested in others. Alaska strives to infuse this value into one's system.

Alaska recognizes the value of SPORTSMANSHIP, that is, acting in a sportsmanlike manner even in the most difficult or trying situation.  Valid complaints can be coursed through the proper channel.

TEAMWORK is what basketball is all about.  It is synchronized movement towards one direction. There are assigned roles that must be carried out.

Drills for the younger ones.  Trainers demonstrate what must be done.

First kid to try it out.

Others take their turns. The exercise involves foot works, hand movements and keeping balance.

Youngest kid in the group (in blue shorts) watches the others do it and he tries to figure it out if he can do it.

It is now the youngest kid's turn.

The youngest kid can simulate what the trainer is demonstrating. He can understand and can carry out instructions.

As there are eight standard basketball courts, see-through nets serve as dividing or separating lines.

The bigger ones doing the drills.

A firm hold of the ball

One group is under the tutelage of a lady coach.

Lady coach MJ is up to the task.  She knows what she is doing.

Groups of five take turns playing offense and playing defense.

Basketball all-time great Jojo Lastimosa poses with participant Andre.

Alaska player RJ Jazul  with Andre.