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Patriots basketball team to compete in NBTC global championship in Manila

Courtesy: Patriots Basketball UAE

The Patriots basketball team, comprised of 12 Filipino youth players based in Dubai, will compete in this year’s National Basketball Training Centre (NBTC) Global Championship Game in Manila, Philippines on March 15-19, 2023.

The NBTC is a global basketball program wherein every year, coaches travel to different parts of the world to scout new players and coordinate with Filipino coaches. To determine the best team to join the NBTC, qualifying rounds among players are done, and whoever wins will get the chance to compete with other highly-trained teams for the big game in the Philippines.

Representing the Middle East and Africa region, the Patriots basketball team is made up of 12 competitive players namely: Shane Alejo, LA Andres, Ralf Baysa, Sofiane Bouzina, Joaquin Briones, Sean Casala, Jek Degullado, Paulo Lopez, Anthony Pimentel, Lenon Ramos, Lucas Rivera, and Neil Adea.

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Patriots Basketball Team with Consul General Renato N. Dueñas, Jr.

Though these boys are young, with ages ranging from only 15-18 years old, they will not come to the Philippines just to play around, but they are very determined to win the game. Since they were selected to participate in the competition, the boys are making time despite their busy school schedules and stretching out their days in order to train and prepare devotedly for the biggest game of their basketball career.

In an interview with Mr. Narry Vega, managing director of A2Z Sports Academy — which handles the Patriots basketball team, he said: “They are very excited and determined to win the game. They look forward to competing in the ‘highest stage’ of their basketball career to represent the UAE.”

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Patriots Basketball Team with Consul General Renato N. Dueñas, Jr.


With an opportunity this grand, it didn’t come as a surprise for them that they will have to face some trials along the way. “Two or three weeks ago, nobody knew about this, so we approached different media outlets, the UAE basketball federation, and the consulate, para walang ma-bypass. We really need exposure and support for the boys,” Vega said.

On February 24, the team paid a courtesy visit to Consul General Renato N. Dueñas, Jr. where they introduced each member of the team, and informed the Philippine Consulate about the team’s achievement, activities, and plans.

Further explaining the training process of the team, Mr. Eugene Opuan, Patriots basketball team’s head trainer and program director, shared that the way they give training to the boys is the same as giving training to varsity players.

“Five times a week kami nagte-training, nag-invest po kami sa strength and conditioning, nagprovide po kami ng mga equipment, as well as ‘yung programs na ginagawa namin which is aligned doon sa licensed certified namin na mga trainors,” Coach Eugene said.

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Patriots Basketball Team training for the NBTC championship game

He also shared that before the pandemic, they were already training a different set of players to compete for the NBTC game, but they never made it to the competition due to the global covid phenomenon.

That is why for the first time again after many years, this generation of the Patriots basketball team is ready to finish what the previous generation could not.

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Patriots Basketball Team training for the NBTC championship game

Getting hyped up for the game, Coach Eugene gives his all-out support to the team. “’Yung advocacy namin dito sa Patriots is to give quality training, kasi ‘tong mga batang ‘to naginvest sila ng time, effort, and money. Sana matulungan din sila ng lahat ng Filipino community dito,” said Coach Eugene.

Mr. Vega, beaming with pride, sends off his team with a message: “Every parent’s vision is makita yung anak nila na mag-excel, makita nila to compete in the biggest stage of their basketball career. Natutuwa ako sa mga players natin, we’re so proud of them. We’re here to support all the way sa mga batang ito and hopefully we can bring home the trophy.”

Lianne Micah Asidera

Lianne is a former News Correspondent for the Provincial Government of Bataan in the Philippines where she covered local government events and projects. She takes pleasure in winning over readers' hearts by showcasing stories of the world that matter and bringing the latest updates to both OFWs and international readers of The Filipino Times. Want to share your story? Reach Lianne on Facebook: www.facebook.com/liyanstar or send your story at: [email protected]

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