Local efforts that lead to the growth of Philippine Basketball

by Marx Karlo Villaseñor

Coach Rio as head coach of Team BST that competed at the Zark’s Burgers 3×3 Basketball Tournament held at the Lyceum of the Philippines University. Photo by: Coach Rio V. Angeles II

“Nagsstart talaga yan sa mga coaches, kung tuturuan mo ng tamang asal, tamang values sa laro ng basketball, ang mga batang Pilipino ngayon ay talagang may mararating.” 

Coach Rio V. Angeles II  is a certified and licensed coach and referee of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP). He is also the director of Blood, Sweat and Tears Basketball Skills Training Camp (BST Basketball Camp), his own basketball training program based in Sta.Cruz  that is known for producing teams and players that have played in various leagues all over the country. Currently, he is the Master Basketball Clinician of Governor Ramil L. Hernandez in the province of Laguna.

More than just a sport

Being a part of a family of basketball coaches, he inherited his passion and skills in from his father to his siblings.

Through the Free Sports Clinic’ Program of the Laguna Provincial Sports and Games Development Office (PSGDO), Coach Rio is able to share his knowledge in the game. Children from the province were also given the opportunity to get trained by a professional coach for free. Coach Rio’s main goal is to teach them not just the basics of  basketball so they can play it right away, but also sportsmanship, which is the most important part for him.

“Malaking bagay para sa kanila ito kasi dadalhin nila ito hanggang sa kanilang pagtanda. Kasi basketball is not just about winning and losing – it’s also about building character…. Hindi lang sa skills improvement. We’re teaching all about values and respect and also number one, which is discipline,”  said Coach Rio.

Coach Rio while teaching children some basic basketball drills during the PSGDO free sports clinic held at Immaculate Concepcion Catholic School in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

Coach Rio also wants to advocate for gender inclusivity in basketball. 

“Boys and girls, there’s no discrimination when it comes to basketball. Basketball is for everyone,” he said.

Coach Rio with one of his female mentees at BST Basketball Skills Training Camp. Photo by: Coach Rio V. Angeles II

Benefits and opportunities of playing sports

Coach Rio believes that playing basketball, or any kind of sport is essential to people’s success because it drives them away from vices and puts them in the right direction.

“There’s a lot of negativity . Marami kasing napupunta sa maling landas, gaya ng mga bisyo sa murang edad. Marami, krimen. Kaya yung sports, especially itong basketball, napakalaking bagay para sa kanila ito.” 

“Puwede ka pang dalhin to the higher meets by the education. Kasi nabibigyan ng scholarship ang mga kabataan, lalo na’t kung sila’y naglalaro ng basketball. Malaking bagay na sa kanila.”  – Coach Rio, on the different opportunities offered by playing sports, highlighting education.

PSGDO Free basketball sports clinic in Sta.Cruz, Laguna.

Coach Rio is also a coach at the Immaculate Concepcion Catholic School in Sta. Cruz., which is  private school under the Diocese of the San Pablo School System that offers scholarships to potential basketball players in the city. 

He values these educational opportunities being offered by schools the most.

“Sa akin, hindi man sila makarating ng higher meet, makapagtapos lang sila ng kanilang pag-aaral, panalo na ako doon,” he said.

Moreover, as a starting point, Coach Rio encourages children to take advantage of such opportunities like free sports clinics because nowadays, there are many  ways to learn for free. There’s basketball clinics all over the place, unlike during his time where you needed to pay a hefty amount of money and travel to cities in order to be trained by a professional.

PSGDO Free basketball sports clinic in San Pablo, Laguna. Photo by: Coach Rio V. Angeles II

Rapid growth of Pinoy basketball

Nowadays, Filipino basketball is blooming with success. Because of opportunities like this, more Filipino basketball players achieve success in various sports events inside and outside of the country.ith the help of different social media platforms, it is also easier now to discover prospects and see a player’s potential.

“Mas lalo ngayong nausbong yung pagpapalaganap ng basketball sa Pilipinas, dahil sa amin, dahil sa aming mga basketball clinic,” said Coach Rio.

Due to his desire to teach children to play basketball the right way, Coach Rio established the BST Basketball Camp in 2018 to serve players who want to learn more after the free sports clinics for a fee. 

“It’s more of passion eh, it’s more for the love of the game of basketball kaya namin ginagawa ito. Second na lang yung financially aspect namin or yung funds para dito,” Coach Rio said on his sports program.

BST basketball skills training camp at Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Photo by: Coach Rio V. Angeles II

Through his basketball program, a lot of his mentees were recruited by universities around the country including NCAA and UAAP universities and colleges.

Coach Rio during the start of his sports clinic held at Pagsanjan, Laguna. Photo by: Coach Rio V. Angeles II

According to him, even Coach Tab Baldwin, the former coach of the Philippine National Team (Gilas Pilipinas) and current head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, is impressed on what Coach Rio is doing which gives him more motivation and excitement to continue his coaching. 

He is also admired by his players on and off the court for his teaching and relationship building attitude.

“Coach Rio is a great coach because he builds relationships with his team members both on and off the court. He also instills respect among his players at all times. I adore his coaching style because he pushes you to your boundaries and wants you to reach higher competitions,” said Simon Mercado, 15, from Pila and one of Coach Rio’s mentees at the BST Basketball Skills Training Camp.

“Stay humble and keep your feet on the ground. Kasi ang pagiging atleta hindi habang buhay atleta ka. Kailangan marunong ka ring alagaan ang sarili mo, alagaan mo ang pamilya mo kasi kapag tumanda ka, sila rin ang makakasama mo. So kailangan lang always be humble in all your success specially kung ang sport mo ay basketball…. Pag hindi mo inalagaan ang pagbabasketball, or hindi ka naging humble, talagang basta-basta na lang nawawala yan,” said Coach Rio as his message to all the young aspiring basketball players.