Five enterprising hoop junkies are putting the finishing touches to a scouting service website for collegiate recruiters to be launched in June and plan to enlist the assistance of Local Government Units (LGUs) in laying the foundation of a national network that will flush out outstanding high school players.
At the moment, the five are employed in different companies. They don’t expect the project to be a full-time occupation but if it takes off and generates substantial income, sportscout.ph might just be the window of their future. “Right now, we hold weekly meetings and spend half a day per week at minimum, working on action items,” said Andrew Tan, a 23-year-old La Salle information communications and technology management graduate now employed as a Business Application Manager at ALLCARD.
Others in the group are Favian Pua, 24, a Kambi Philippines Sports Analyst from Ateneo, Dino Alcoseba, 24, HR Consultant with STORM Rewards from Ateneo, Ryan Salvanera, 35, Software QA Manager with Oracle Philippines from Ateneo and Elbert John Cruz, 35, Associate Manager of Accenture from Angeles University Foundation.
Tan said the goal is to build a massive inventory of high school player profiles that collegiate recruiters will find useful in locating prospects. The door will also be open to elementary students who hope to play for a high school with an established basketball program. While basketball is the primary sport of focus, the website will eventually list athletes in football, volleyball, baseball and other “booming” sports.
“We have approached a lot of coaches to get their inputs,” said Tan. “Coach Yeng Guiao referred us to coach Louie Gonzalez and coach Chito Narvasa, along with coaches John Ramirez and Dino Ponce-Enrile whom we met at the recent Jr. NBA coaching clinic in the British School. They were receptive to the idea and gave us valuable inputs to improve our system and process functionally and technically. We want coaches and scouts to see this product as a means to increase reach to far-flung areas, minimize cost of travel and improve recruitment efficiency by filtering the talent that they want to thoroughly scout.”
To make the website a hard-to-break habit, the group is prioritizing the update of data on a daily basis. “Basically, anyone can create his profile page but there will be a verification process which each profile must undergo,” said Tan. “That would mean a background check to establish credibility of sources and information. Archiving and deleting obsolete information will be done on a regular basis, like six months to a year. This idea is original and we are looking into some similar sites like beRecruited.com to further enhance what we have in mind. We’ve checked eurobasket.com. We initially thought it was only a news site for the latest updates on world basketball and didn’t know that it also has a recruitment service.”
Tan said while the website is still in its formative stage, the group is feverishly working to create an easily accessible and data-rich directory. “We are attending various camps and clinics in order to broaden our network and are introducing ourselves and what we do to different figures in the basketball community,” continued Tan. “We are also tapping into social media since that is where the younger demographic can be found. We will turn to filtered crowd-sourcing similar to how Bleacher Report runs its site. Help from LGUs is critical as well, hence we would need to reach out to them. Coach Alex Compton of the National Basketball Training Center has expressed his desire to help.”
Once the website is up and running, Tan said the group will look into broadening its scope to cover Fil-foreign high schoolers playing overseas. “We still can’t put an exact figure down as to our target number of players in our directory,” he said. “Realistically, we want to start targeting schools within the vicinity of Metro Manila with the help of LGUs as suggested by Coach Narvasa to pilot the service. From there, we plan to target schools in the Visayas and Mindanao. We want to conduct a pilot program that will allow us to gauge our value proposition in such a way that optimizes the coaches’ subscription fee vis-à-vis our operating expenses. We are still discussing the mode of payment and we are looking into a payment online system and a non-online option.”
The five are serious basketball enthusiasts whose love of the game brought them together for this project. “I’ve been following and playing the game since I was five,” said Pua. “I’m a staunch supporter of the Alaska Aces and my all-time favorite player is Johnny Abarrientos.” Alcoseba chimed in, “I’ve been watching basketball for as long as I can remember. I cried when Alaska lost in the Finals to Swift and rejoiced when they won multiple titles. I also play and have joined some leagues in college. Alaska is my favorite team and I worshipped Johnny. My dad was an avid basketball fan and got me into playing the game and watching the PBA. My classmates would also play basketball regularly and I joined in when I was in Grade 4.”
Salvanera said his first love was tennis but it changed after watching the Philippines dominate the Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta in 1987 with Alvin Patrimonio, Jojo Lastimosa and Nelson Asaytono. “My all-time fave team is Purefoods with Alvin, Jerry and Dindo,” he said. “My all-time fave player is Captain Lionheart.” Cruz said he’s been a Barangay Ginebra fan since the days of Robert Jaworski, Dondon Ampalayo and Dante Gonzalgo up to the Mark Caguioa era. “My uncles are avid PBA followers and when I was young, I used to watch games with them,” he said. “That started my interest in the game. The interest increased when I was in high school, I was in all-boys school and the only outdoor sport we played was basketball.”
Tan said he was mentored by Lim Eng Beng in high school and that’s why he enrolled at La Salle. “I entered La Salle in 2006 and got into coaching,” he said. “I coached our batch’s team for three years and won third place in the inter-collegiate tournament in 2009. Beng taught me the basics and instilled my love for the game. His stories of greatness motivated me to play harder during my career. I’m a TNT fan from way back when they were still Mobiline with Asi and Jimmy. I’m also a fan of coaching and I’ve been following the system of Franz Pumaren from his La Salle days to Air 21.”