MANILA, Philippines - Basketball for the differently-abled takes center stage as the Wheelchair Basketball Canada (WBC) holds player and coaching clinics with the Pilipinas Warriors, the country’s national squad.
Teaming up with the Philippine Basketball Association, TV5, Phl Paralympic Committee and New World Makati Hotel, the Canadian Embassy has brought Olympic wheelchair basketball gold medal-winning coach Mike Frogley and several WBC players to help train Filipino players.
The clinics actually started yesterday and will last up to Saturday.
Frogley, who steered Canada to the Olympic Paralympic gold in 2000 and 2004, along with Olympians Bo Hodges and David Eng and Fil-Canadian Jason Conrad Naval, will also hold a 30-minute camp during the halftime break of the Alaska-Phoenix duel tomorrow at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Canadian Ambassador to the Phl John Holmes said the four-day event is part of the embassy’s year-long celebration commemorating Canada’s 150th anniversary.
“We’re keen on sports and excited about presenting wheelchair basketball as a mainstream sport. It’s an exciting and challenging version of the game invented by Canadian James Naismith,” said Holmes in a press briefing at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum yesterday.
“Through this project, we’d also like to underline both the rights of persons with disabilities to live their lives fully and integrated into society, as well as the importance of sport,” he added.
Holmes was joined by PPC and Philspada president Mike Barredo, Phoenix cager Norberto Torres, sportsman/actor Derek Ramsey and TV5’s Patricia Bermudez in the event launch.
Frogley is now the executive director of WBA’s National Academy, the world’s first full-time, year-round training facility for wheelchair basketball players and he hopes he could impart his knowledge to local players and coaches.
“This is our way of sharing what we do best, which is wheelchair basketball,” said Frogley, who himself is wheelchair-bound after he was injured in a car accident in 1986 before he was introduced to the sport at a rehabilitation center in Ottawa.