From waterboy to Jr. NBA Philippines Coach of the Year

Anton Roxas

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Coach Jed Cabellon (blue, in front of Jeff Cariaso) poses for a photo with the 2017 Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars

“I didn’t come here to win. I came to develop good relationships with my fellow coaches in the Philippines.”

These were the words that were spoken by Jed Cabellon as he shared his story to the NBA Philippines panel of judges, the night before he was recognized as Jr. NBA Philippines Male Coach of the Year (COY). 

Talk about getting more than what you bargained for.

Cabellon hails from Cebu City. And just like majority of the people in our nation, he is madly in love with basketball. He tried out for numerous varsity teams, but unfortunately, he never landed on any roster. In fact, his biggest accomplishment as a player was participating in a church league. Despite not making it far as a player, his love for the game never wavered. The more he fell short, the harder he tried.

In 2005, Cabellon became a utility man, waterboy and stretcher for a commercial team named “Tribu Sugbo n Arthro” in Cebu. Two years later, Sacred Heart School - Ateneo de Cebu called and asked him to be a part of their grade school coaching staff. It was at that moment when Cabellon found his true calling. 

A decade has passed and Cabellon is now 32-years-old. He’s got a magnetic personality, he's always smiling, and is extremely passionate about the game. His confidence and ability to speak his mind stems from his experience as a coach. One thing that hasn’t changed about him though is his humility.

“This is actually my second time to come here to Manila for the Jr. NBA program. I was here last year and this year, di ko inakala na makukuha ako, because at first, they told me I would just be a chaperone for the kids.”

When the top eight Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars were announced, Cabellon was delighted to find out that two of them were fellow Cebuanos. Reinhard Jumamoy of the University of San Carlos North Campus was among the Boys’ Jr. NBA All-Stars, while Chinnsai Demana of the University of the Visayas – Mandaue was included in the Jr. NBA All-Star team for the Girls.

“It’s a huge impact for us to be chosen because Cebu is very far from Luzon and we don’t get much exposure. Minsan lang tayo mabigyan ng break eh. Ang layo ng Manila. Every time may opportunity, the first thing we think about is, ‘Paano kami makakapunta doon. Paano kami makakahanap ng plane ticket.’”

Because of Cabellon’s unexpected win as Jr. NBA Philippines Male COY, he along with Jumamoy, Demana, the other Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars and Jr. NBA Philippine Female COY Catrina Biongcog from Cagayan de Oro will get a free trip to Shanghai, China in October for the Jr. NBA Asia International Training Camp. They will also get an opportunity to watch the Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves play in the NBA Global Games China 2017.

“This is very inspirational for me. Given a chance like this. Why not? I believe in myself and I believe that there’s a reason God made me a coach.”

While Cabellon is excited to meet his fellow coaches from different countries in Asia, he first has to return to Cebu to get back to his coaching duties. Cabellon is currently coaching six different teams, including the SBP squad of the Don Bosco Technical Center, Shangri-La Mactan Resort, ALIN Custom Brokerage, a legislative team in the government, Recover semi-commercial team, and ACES, a ministry basketball team.

He can’t wait to share the things he learned during the past three days of the Jr. NBA Philippines National Training Camp which were graced by rising NBA Star Elfrid Payton and WNBA Legend, Sue Wicks. 

“Elfrid and Sue told us that in basketball and in life, it’s about giving your best, following your passion and that in everything you do, you should always glorify God.”

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