The Philippines has a deep love for basketball. If you grew up in the Philippines, you would have a brother, cousin or neighbor who spent their weekend afternoons in a real or makeshift basketball court within your area. Players of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) were glorified and rooting for one team was a solid effort amongst family and friends. The basketball culture lives on thanks to the athletic investment of schools and training camps to young children who show early interest in the sport. In Riyadh, Filipinos are highly athletic and you would always hear about an ongoing basketball league happening within the city. But beyond the popularity of basketball leagues, an organization called the White Camel Youth Basketball Club has come about in hopes of providing consistent sports training in basketball, regardless of age, gender or nationality (yes, it’s not exclusive to Filipinos!). The group has held a successful training camp to over 50 participants a few months back and this time around, they had an even bigger basketball event and training as they were able to invite a PBA Legend to come here in Riyadh to conduct the session himself.
Meet Mr. Allan Caidic – a record holder in the Philippine history books for having the most points scored in a single game (79 points) and the most three-point field goals in one game (17 three-pointers). He is coined as “The Triggerman” for his staggering success as a shooter during his prime in the PBA. He was a member of the Phillippine National Basketball Team and was regarded as one of the best three-point shooters in Asia. Last week, I had the honor of meeting him at the press conference hosted by the White Camel Youth Basketball Club in relation to his 3-day shooting camp and exhibition games here in Riyadh.
There was a brief meet-and-greet at the Al Orjouan Restaurant of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Riyadh where we enjoyed their brunch offering. We were able to film a short Facebook live with him, greeting our fellow Riyadhizens and inviting them to the basketball camps for the coming days. Right after the brunch, we headed on to Lulu Hypermarket in Murraba where he had the opportunity to meet fans and fellow kabayans for some selfies.
The press conference was held at one of the conference rooms of Lulu and it was there that we, the press (naks), finally had a chance to ask him some questions and it was through several interviews that I saw how much passion he had for training the young athletes and for them to develop their talents. He noted that at the end of the day, it is the interest of the child that will sustain his success in basketball. He can be a good coach and he may be able to inspire them in two to three days, but all he can offer is some skills that they can build on. Children and parents need to be involved 100% if basketball is really what they want to do. Just as with any sport, practice, determination and commitment are essential to succeed.
Unfortunately, I was not able to join them to see the actual training camp at the RKH Skydome but I am inserting some photos from the training camp itself, courtesy of their official photographer, Mr. Fancis Gumabay (see the rest of his work in this link):
Congratulations to White Camel Youth Basketball Club along with their partners and sponsors for a successful event that surely benefitted the youth and the field of sports! If you are interested in enrolling yourself or your children in their sports training camp, please refer to the details below:
White Camel Youth Basketball Club