15 May 2019
By Roy Afable
The 2019 Jr. NBA Philippines is already in full swing and is headlined by WNBA Legend Ticha Penicheiro and Cleveland Cavaliers Guard Collin Sexton for this weekend’s National Training Camp. They will select 8 boys and 8 girls to represent the Philippines for this year’s Jr. NBA International Regionals on the last day of the event.
It’s been a decade since Penicheiro last played for the now defunct Sacramento Monarchs in the WNBA. The 4-time WNBA All-Star spoke about how devastated the fans in Sacramento were when the team owners decided to scrap the team altogether back in 2009.
“It was in 2009 when we folded and it was so unexpected. The owners just decided that, you know, the owners finally decided that they didn’t wanna invest in us anymore – they wanted to save money,” Penicheiro said.
“A lot of the people that are in that area, not just in Sacramento but in the Bay Area – they are still heartbroken. And they have pages on Facebook like ‘Bring the Monarchs back’. So I hope, truly hope that soon we’ll have a team back in either Sacramento or in the Bay Area so those fans can continue to go to the games.”
This weekend the Portuguese WNBA Legend will be coaching the Jr. NBA/WNBA Campers at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati on Saturday and Mall of Asia Music Hall in Pasay City on Sunday.
Penicheiro has some advice for the Jr. NBA/WNBA participants this weekend on how to be a better basketball player.
“It starts with them. They are young enough where they can work on their game everyday and get better,” Penisheiro said.
“What I’ll tell these girls is to work hard, to believe. But they really have to love what they do and that’s what happened with me.”
“I fell in love with the game and I wanted to be great. You can’t fake love. You have to really love the game and love what you do in order to be great. I hope I can at least transmit that to them to love the game and to respect the game and to practice hard to get better a little bit everyday,” the 2005 WNBA Champion added.
Follow the writer on Twitter: @AirTsinelas