MANILA, Philippines — Drawing inspiration from their older brothers who have made name in the collegiate basketball scene, Miguel Fortuna and Vince Ferrer, both 14, also made it big for themselves on Sunday.
Fortuna and Ferrer joined eight other standouts from all over the Philippines who made it to the top 10 of the 2013 Jr. NBA Philippines program — after a series of training camps with noted coaches and even an NBA legend.
Completing the elite list of youth ballers are 14-year-olds Marvin Sario from Quezon Province, Manila-based Gian Mamuyac, Tyler Tio, Ricci Rivero and Samuel Abujileh, Anthony Sistoza from General Santos, Mahloney Tarranza from Davao and 13-year-old Pawandeep Singh from Pampanga.
The 10 were chosen out of the 50 who were invited to the 3-day National Training Camp in Manila led by Muggsy Bogues. The training camp was concluded at the Mall of Asia Music Hall on Sunday.
Fortuna, one of the more than a thousand players who attended the Regional camps, wants to follow the footsteps of his brother Jeric, who now plays for San Miguel after a successful career in the UAAP as University of Santo Tomas’ star point guard.
“It’s feels good to be in the top 10 because I worked hard, did extra work just to get it and it’s really nice,” said the second year highschool student from La Salls-Zobel.
Along with the chosen Coach of the Year — the 31-year-old Raymond Mercader from Bukidnon — the top 10 most promising cagers in the land will be given an authentic NBA experience late this year.
But for six-foot tall Ferrer, a junior in University of Santo Tomas High School, it goes more beyond than that experience that other NBA fans could only dream about.
“Siyempre masaya ako kasi mapapagmalaki ko yung apelyido ko. Mahahabol ko sila kuya at iba ko pang family kasi family namin [nag-excel] basketball,” said Ferrer, whose brother Kevin plays for the Tigers in the UAAP.
But Ferrer lit up at the possibility of seeing his idol James Harden of the Houston Rockets, saying, with a smile, “Idol ko sya, kaliwete din ako.”
Earlier, “Teamy Muggsy” led by UST standout Aljon Mariano defeated “Team Jolas” led by University of the Philippines Henry Asilum, 52-46, in overtime in the Jr. NBA Philippines Alumni game.