FOLLOWING their remarkable performance in the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) League National Finals, three of the key players of Santa Clarita International School Primes-Iloilo got a call up from Manila-based schools.
Ralph Bajon has been recruited to join the Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraws in UAAP juniors basketball, where he will be reunited with former Primes teammate Marc Jimenez.
“Actually si Ralph matagal nang ina-eye nung coach ng FEU,” said Primes head coach Rodel Camacho. “Kaya nung naglaro kami sa Manila for NBTC sinecure na agad nila siya.”
Camacho added that Baby Tamaraws head coach Allan Albano have assured him that Bajon will play a key role for FEU as a replacement to another former Primes in John Bryan Sajonia, who is to be elevated to FEU’s college team.
Aside from Bajon, Franc Steven Tono and Jemar Cepriano have been recruited recently by the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Squires in a tryout conducted last week in Iloilo City.
“‘Yung Letran matagal na ding nakaabang sa dalawa. Nung nasa NBTC pa kami gusto na nilang kunin si Franc at Jemar kaso hesitant pa ako ibigay kasi need ko pa sila for Santa Clarita,” Camacho said.
He added: “But when the two attended sa pa-tryout ng Letran dito sa Iloilo City nagustuhan sila nung coach kaya nag-decide ako na i-give up na sila since it is for their future rin.”
Another player of Primes in Wilmer Dalumpines got a tryout invite from the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, where he will be battling for a spot in the school’s collegiate team.
“He already attended EAC’s practice but (Generals) coach Oliver (Bunyi) wanted to see him further kaya pinababalik siya sa Manila after ng graduation niya,” Camacho said. “Hopefully, he gets lined up. Masipag namang bata ‘yan.”
Camacho said he is happy for the four even if it means the Primes squad getting decimated heading into the local basketball tournaments scheduled later this year.
“Medyo mabigat but that’s how it is kaya nga we are conducting tryouts now to recruit and develop new players and hopefully magustuhan ng mga scouts sa Manila,” Camacho said.
“We are here naman not just to win games and championships but also to help these young Ilonggos to develop their talents and help them achieve their basketball dreams in the Big City,” he added./PN