Former collegiate basketball stars happy to give back through Project Hero

ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 23, 2016 01:16 PM
Former collegiate stars happy to give back via Project Hero
Danica Jose (second from left), Tonino Gonzaga (third from left), and Jonathan Banal (second from right) all share their thoughts on being able to give back through the sport of basketball.

During the Navotas leg of ABS-CBN Sports' Project Hero campaign, a number of former collegiate stars were on hand to spend time and teach the kids of Barangay San Roque the basics of the game of basketball. 

And for all of them, it meant a whole lot more than just being able to teach, it also meant being able to give back via the sport that has given them so much. 

One of the coaches, former Mapua Cardinal and NCAA Rookie of the Year Jonathan Banal, son of legendary coach Koy Banal, is now strutting his stuff in the PBA D-League, and hopes to be able to break into the pros one day. 

For Jonathan, it's important to teach the kids the basic elements of basketball. 

"It really means a lot to me, kasi galing din ako dyan. Nag-cacamps din ako nung bata ako, sumasama ako sa dad ko, everything na ginagawa ko from the start, nung bata ako, nadala ko siya since college hanggang ngayon, so the basic skills are very important for the kids," Jonathan told ABS-CBN Sports. "Lalo na, hindi pa sila masyadong experienced sa basketball, like yung mga play, yung sistema, so they really need to know that."

Jonathan added that the kids shouldn't give up on their dreams, but they also need to keep their acacdemics as well as their manners in check. 

"Don’t ever give up. Whatever dream nila, sundin lang nila, sundin yung magulang nila, yung grades nila dapat mataas din."

Former UAAP champion Tonino Gonzaga from Ateneo also took time to share his knowledge with the kids. The former Blue Eagle was an integral part in Ateneo's championship run, and when his collegiate career was over, Gonzaga took his game international, playing professionally in the ASEAN Basketball League. 

For Gonzaga, being able to serve as a coach was a sign of his career as a basketball player come full circle. 

"For me, alam natin lahat na lahat ng basketball players, nagsimula sa mga camp na ganito, yung mga coaches namin dati, yun mga idols namin and hinangad namin tularan. Ngayon, nag-come full circle na yung career namin as basketball players, na tumutulong sa communities, parang napaka-saya siyang feeling, na makatulong through the sport na nagbigay sa amin ng lahat confidence namin, ng values na dinala namin sa buhay. "

Gonzaga added that chasing a dream isn't easy, but it's up to you on how you handle the journey. 

"Kung ano man yung pangarap niyo, hindi talaga magiging madali yan, meron talagang mga setbacks, it’s up to you na lang kung gaano mo kagusto gawin ‘to and kung paano kayo mag-adjust sa setbacks para sundan yung pangarap niyo, kahit ano mangyari."

Former Ateneo Lady Eagle Danica Jose was a standout during her UAAP days, not just because of her height but also her skills. In the 2015 SEA Games, Jose represented the Philippines with Perlas Pilipinas. 

For Jose, helping kids through basketball is a way to help them build a better future. 

"Syempre, it’s overwhelming that you have an opportunity to give back, it’s your priority as an athlete to share what you know and your experiences, it’s a way to give back after all that you’ve learned, after your experiences on and off the court, you have to teach them the right values to help them have a better future."

Hard work, balance, and time management are keys to succeeding, according to the towering former Lady Eagle. 

"Never stop working hard, because you will also apply it in life, especially when you’re a student, when you’ll need to balance studies and practice. That’s the only thing I have to tell, them, you should never stop working hard and you should balance and manage your time well."

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