By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
NEARLY a decade removed from playing in the Philippine Basketball Association, the hoops journey continues for Jeffrey Cariaso through two values-driven programs which he takes much pride in to be part of.
The director of the Alaska Basketball Power Camp and one of the proponents of the Jr. NBA Philippines program, Mr. Cariaso, also assistant coach with the Aces in the PBA, shared that while he did not envision his post-playing path to chart such a direction, he nonetheless is not complaining, especially since it affords him the opportunity to inspire and make a difference in other people’s lives in a different capacity.
“To be honest, I didn’t envision this or predicted it. There was always a part of me that enjoyed — in high school and college — being with kids; guiding, teaching, whether as mentor, counselor or coach, but this is something I did not dream of,” Mr. Cariaso said in an interview with BusinessWorld.
“But I’m happy that the cards fell the way they did. It really improves me as a coach because, for me, for you to be able to coach at this level (PBA) you have to be able to experience teaching young kids. To be able to set up a program and see their development with an organized blue print is something I am happy and proud of,” he added.
Just finished his fifth year of handling the Alaska Basketball Power Camp, which is Alaska’s basketball summer activity program, Mr. Cariaso said he is very satisfied with how things are evolving for it, guided by their core values of respect, integrity, hard work and determination.
“Through the years the program has gotten more detailed and enhanced. Apart from providing campers with the best basketball clinic possible and teaching them to play on both ends of the court, important for us as well is playing the right way and develop values like respect, integrity, hard work and determination which they could use not only in basketball but outside of it as well,” said Mr. Cariaso, who took over from fellow Alaska legend Jojo Lastimosa as Power Camp head.
Adding, “Nutrition is also important and something we share as well at the camp, like eating the right food and taking care of your body.”
As to their partnership with the National Basketball Association for the Jr. NBA Philippines program, which is running for 10 years now, the seven-time PBA champion said it is a tie-up that is very fitting for the many commonalities in the groups’ vision and mission.
Both Alaska and Jr. NBA champion core values, or in the case of the latter its S.T.A.R (Sportsmanship, Teamwork, positive Attitude and Respect) values, as main motor.
They, too, are also a making a conscious effort to make the partnerships’ dynamic as seamless as possible.
“Our relationship is very fluid. We share our ideas with one another. In the last two years they have trusted us in leading the coaching in the clinics and it means a lot for us in Alaska. The trust that they are showing in our capabilities,” Mr. Cariaso said.
Moving forward, Mr. Cariaso said he is very excited for the continued development of the Alaska Power Camp and the Jr. NBA Philippines program, and, ditto, his own growth at this stage of his basketball journey.
“I’m really excited for the future and being part of the journey of these kids. We are seeing the fruits of what we are doing and we are very happy with that. And yes we are looking forward to continue producing not only outstanding players who can play at the highest levels, but also individuals,” he said.