Sky is the limit for Philippine basketball

The Link
Rey Joble

Posted on January 16, 2017

Seeing Ethan Kirkness, a 14-year-old, 6-foot-10 player who became part of the Batang Gilas program just recently is a sign that the kid is reaffirming his commitment to play for the country when needed.

Kirkness watched the PBA games on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena and the promising player got a chance to meet June Mar Fajardo, the country’s most dominant big man.

The reigning three-time Most Valuable Player welcomed Kirkness with open arms, even giving him a size 17 shoes.

Fajardo and Kirkness have the same shoe size.

Kirkness was having a difficulty purchasing a pair of shoes because his size is normally not available in the market, except when you purchase it online.

Fajardo made things easier for the guest. He had plenty of shoes that were preserved back home, even laminating some of them.

But for Fajardo, it’s the least he could do for Kirkness, whose entry in the national basketball youth team’s program gives us high hopes in future international events.

Another young player, 14-year-old, 6-foot-10 Kai Sotto, is already included in the program while 6-foot-9, Fil-Nigerian AJ Edu, will join the Batang Gilas soon.

This means the country’s young men’s team will have triple towers in the coming age group events.

Fajardo said he’s willing to help out these young players the same way his mentors did to him when he was still a budding young big man from Cebu who was trying to make his mark in local basketball scene.

The Kraken was blessed to have El Presidente Ramon Fernandez, the only other four time PBA MVP, and later on two time MVP Danny Ildefonso as mentors, one way or the other in his career.

It’s not surprising why Fajardo emerged as the best big man in the country today, becoming the only player in the PBA to win the MVP in three consecutive seasons -- and possibly a fourth straight plum this season.

Fajardo is very much willing to share his knowledge to these players while he himself wants to develop his skills set more.

The present and future of Philippine basketball have just arrived and sky is the limit for the country’s future cage program.

Rey Joble has been a sportswriter for 17 years, and has been covering the PBA games for more than a decade. He is a member of the PBA Press Corps and Philippine Sportswriters Association, the oldest journalism group in the country.