Alaska Sports resumes its annual program of teaching youth athletes the fundamentals and core values of basketball

By Nicole Ganglani | Photos by Rogen Carlo Esticio

It was evident in the way Jeffrey Cariaso expressed his aspirations for the 2019 Alaska Basketball Power Camp—that it was going to be more than just sessions of teaching the fundamentals of basketball. The assistant head coach of the Alaska Aces expressed that the Power Camp is focused more on promoting a sports program unlike any other. One that shapes, trains, challenges, and inspires young kids to achieve their dreams and aspirations.

True enough, over 251 participants showed up on the first day of camp in Baguio and earned the opportunity to learn the skills and values required in basketball. Accompanied by his point guards Simon Enciso, Abel Galliguez, and women’s coach Hazel Yambot, Cariaso says that it’s the values they teach the kids that make their camp stand out compared with others.

“We make sure that we teach them the core values that we believe in not only to become good people but also to become good athletes. Examples are hard work, determination, discipline, and respect. We have one daily and there’s a core value word that we stress upon every session,” says Cariaso.

Nurturing Kids on and off the Court

The Alaska Power Camp has been ongoing for over 14 years now. With the goal of producing young children to go out and play, the program is also focused on shaping, training, challenging, and inspiring kids to become better athletes. Galliguez, who’s mentoring his third power camp, says that he loves how he sees himself in the kids he coaches.

“This is what I love to see, how I was in them when I was a kid and teaching what I know is something I love and enjoy doing,” says Galliguez. “The camp is offered for kids ages four to 18 so we got kids who don’t even know if they want to become professional players. We’re trying to give them that [opportunity] to be active and just be healthy by educating them with proper nutrition,” Galliguez adds.

True enough, Galliguez was all smiles as a mentor to the children last Saturday. Guiding them through the basics of dribbling, crossovers, shooting, and more. It’s reasons like these that make the camp so special—the knowledge being passed from one generation to another.

The camp also gives kids the opportunity to meet one another and form a bond over the sport. Take it from Enciso, who’s played basketball all his life and had even enrolled in basketball camps not unlike this one during his childhood.

“Being in camps really helped me not only as a basketball player but also as a person because you meet so many different people and you make friends so that’s the biggest thing. The networking and ultimately building brotherhood with people you don’t even know.”

Besides the skills training and values, what makes the camp special is also the opportunities it comes with. This year, the seven best boys and girls participating in Alaska’s camps in Baguio, Bacolod and Manila will get the chance to be part of the Junior National Basketball Association (NBA) Camp—a certified NBA camp for children 14 and under.

The Alaska Basketball Power Camp is a testament to why it’s important to get children involved in sports programs. They learn and develop not only the fundamentals and skills of basketball but they also instill the values of every successful basketball player.

Because, who knows, the future Kiefer Ravena or Kai Sotto could be participating in one of these camps.