Freeman Cebu Sports

Inspiring a basketball community

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The basketball family of the University of San Jose-Recoletos experienced a one-of-kind treat last Wednesday evening, with US-based Cebuano trainer Jefferson Codera, Jr. standing before them not only to share his skills but also to give them valuable insights on how to reach their goals as players and become successful in life.

Though lean and small in figure, the 34-year-old Codera stood tall and proud for a moment as he addressed a throng of hoop enthusiasts from USJ-R, not really about his exploits as a trainer/coach in America but much more on his humble beginnings and the trials and tribulations he went through before gaining a certain measure of success.

"Dili babag kon gamay ba ka or kon asa ka gikan aron ka mo-succeed sa kinabuhi," said Codera in an impassioned speech that nearly reduced him to tears. "As players, kabalo ko nga daghan mog ma-agian nga challenges pero dili na nato tan-awon. Ang importante mo-praktis ta og maayo, dunay disiplina sa kaugalingon, mo-respeto sa isig ka tawo ug labaw sa tanan makamao ta mo-ampo sa Ginoo."

Led by USJ-R Vice President for Student Welfare Fr. Nestor C. Raras, OAR and the entire coaching staff of the school's varsity program led by head coach Agripino 'Jun' Noel Jr., the Josenians welcomed Codera with open arms in a simple, yet meaningful program that lasted for almost two hours at the Recoletos Coliseum of USJ-R Basak campus.

"I am so grateful of Mr. Codera's presence in this once-in-a lifetime and very special occasion. It's really a remarkable gathering beause it's a rare opportunity to have a very special guest whose credibility is beyond compare. He possesses extraordinary skills and experiences as a man of sports that is why his presence is really a blessing," said Raras.

"We were all vibrant and animated in listening to his inputs and sharing. I hope that his experiences in the field of sports would epitomize our desire to improve. I also hope that he would be our mirror for hard work, study habits and worthwhile personal values,' he added.

During his brief talk, Codera narrated to the young and aspiring cagers his inspiring journey from a 'jeepney dispatcher' without college degree to becoming a respectable sports personality in the US. A licensed coach of USA Basketball under its Youth Development Program, he is also a member of reigning NBA champions Golden State Warriors' training camp.

No less than coach Jun Noel was touched by Codera's 'rags to riches' story, which for him is worth emulating for.

"It's a God-given blessing that Mr. Codera is here with us. We are really fortunate to have him. Sakto kaayo ang iyahang gisulti nga dili kon unsa ka kadak-a o kon asa ka gikan, kundili ang kakugi, respeto ug pag-ampo sa Ginoo maoy labing importante. These are the ingredients that will make you not only as good players but also community leaders," said Noel.

Leodi Garcia, one of USJ-R's assistant coaches who is responsible for putting up the event, is as grateful as Noel.

"Pasalamat kaayo ko ni Jeff kay pag-invite nako niya, iya dayon gidawat sa way pagduha-duha. Ako man gud nakita nga sa iyang na-abot ug nakat-onan didto sa US, nindot kaayo nga iyaha pud nga i-share aron siya maka-inspire sa uban. Malipayon ko nga nindot kaayo ang resulta sa iyang pagbisita," said Garcia, himself a USJ-R champion player during his prime.

Before demonstrating some drills on dribbling, the Tabok, Mandaue City-native Codera had a video presentation showing how he transformed other people's lives through his athletic gift, making special mention of a former bank robber who is now carving his own niche as pro in a Spanish league through his intercession.

The scenes flashed on the screen did not go unnoticed by many of those present during Codera's motivational discourse.

"Naka-inspire gyud sa amoa ang iyahang story. Pagkakita namo sa iyang video, na-usab ang among mindset tanan nga kon mo-pursue gani mi sa among dreams, dapat i-improve namo ang among craft always. Amo sab na-realize nga dili basihan ang imong status aron ma-successful ka sa kinabuhi," said Ricky Dyn Peromingan, a member of the USJ-R Jaguars college varsity.

For Codera, skills can be learned and talent can be earned, but you must work hard on it. Because even if you only have small dreams but work on it bigtime, greater things will surely happen in your life. (FREEMAN)

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