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01-25-2008, 10:22 AM
Girls got game
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
Friday, January 25, 2008
Philstar.com

Two former La Salle varsity cagers and the Ateneo Blue Eaglets team manager are getting together to layout a defining program for women’s basketball in the country.

Richard del Rosario, Dominic Uy and Mico Halili are pooling their resources to organize the first Girls Got Game basketball camp at the Hotel La Corona de Lipa and the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Batangas on Feb. 9-10.

The three share a passion for hoops. Del Rosario is a PBA veteran and newly appointed assistant coach of the St. Benilde varsity. Uy saw action in the defunct MBA and was an assistant coach with the La Salle women’s team. Halili is involved in Ateneo’s basketball program and would’ve played for the Eagles varsity if not for his size. They’re all regulars in ABC-TV’s coverage of the PBA.

Clearly, the Three Musketeers were inspired by the Philippine team’s bronze medal finish in the last Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. They’ll be the first to deny their attraction to women’s basketball is the women, not the basketball. Del Rosario and Halili are happily married while Uy is happily single.

Del Rosario, Uy and Halili are calling their campers “Fab Females” who will inspire children, teens, parents and product consumers with their optimism, unbridled energy and pure love of the game. The Three Musketeers are naturally the camp directors with del Rosario taking care of logistics, Uy the coaches and Halili the media.

“Our firm belief in these new Filipina hoop heroes has led us to create the following camp objectives – to give the players a holistic preview of life in college basketball, provide participants with valuable options for life after college basketball, create once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for camp participants, start a long-term series of Girls Got Game activities and help change the way audiences look at the Fab Filipina Hoop Hero,” said Halili, the camp’s media director.

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The camp is open to the top 20 female high school basketball players in Metro Manila and is by invitation only. The two-day, overnight affair will feature two mentoring sessions on campus and varsity life, playing for the Philippines and life and career after hoops, team building activities, strength and conditioning, skills training, fellowship and an All-Star Game.

At the end of the camp, five players will be chosen as Girls Got Game (3G) Ambassadors who embody the traits of skill, spirit, strength, style and smarts. The Ambassadors will promote the 3G camp, re-engineer the image of women’s hoops in the country and embolden the Filipina athlete to follow her dreams and succeed, said Halili.

“The Ambassadors will be the energetic and effective spokespersons of the 3G camp,” said Halili. “Through their liveliness and charm, they will no doubt inspire other teens, younger girls and even boys as well as parents to look into sports for personal development and leadership training.”

Halili said next year, the 3G camp will invite players from elementary, high school and college to set the stage for a national event in 2009.

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For the first camp, the coaching and mentoring staff will be composed of all women – Jessica Manalo, Danica Caynap, Melissa Jacob and Cassie Tioseco.

Manalo, a former La Salle varsity cager, is now a Key Customer manager at Unilever. Manalo played on four UAAP champion teams. Caynap saw action for the Ateneo squad that bagged the UAAP title in 2005. She is now a Key Customer executive at Unilever.

Jacob is a product of the University of California-Irvine (like Alaska’s Tony de la Cruz) and suited up for the Philippine team in the last SEA Games. Tioseco played on the Ateneo UAAP champion squads of 2005 and 2007 and also the Philippine quintet in the last SEA Games. She is a two-time UAAP MVP.

Special guest speaker is former PBA coach Eric Altamirano who heads the SBP’s National Basketball Training Center. Assigned as strength and conditioning coach is Dan Rose, the Talk ’N’ Text pro team trainer.

Halili said the “fantasy” camp will assemble a new breed of inspiring Filipina hoop heroes whose ultimate goal is to bring consistent international success for the country.

“By boosting support and interest in women’s basketball, we hope the Girls Got Game project will result in helping our Girls Get Gold,” said Halili.

The project is the first-ever attempt to organize a camp exclusively for female cagers with the view to enrich their experience on the court and prepare them for a life after basketball.

Congratulations to the Three Musketeers for making everyone realize that Girls Got Game, too.