Freeman Cebu Sports

SBP: No Games? Ok lang!

BLEACHER TALK - Rico S. Navarro - The Freeman

When you have a full calendar of activities all laid out and ready for implementation, it makes things easier in terms of planning, managing and eventually running these events. Right? Wrong! The calendar may be ready for implementation but if it didn’t foresee the arrival of COVD 19, it’s totally useless. This is the scenario that the sports world found itself in this year. How ironic it has been indeed for what should’ve been a “perfect vision” year 2020.

This was exactly the dilemma that hit the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and all other national sports federations that already had 2020 locked and loaded, only to find out that around 90% of its activities would have to be either cancelled or postponed. And like all organizations, they asked themselves, “What do we do?” With everyone pivoting and finding other platforms for its activities, the SBP paused, scanned the scene, re-grouped and navigated through the pandemic. When it was clear that no real basketball games or practices could he held, the SBP had to seek another “venue” that wasn’t made of maple, synthetic mat or concrete. They decided to go online which was really the only way to go.

The SBP Coaches Academy under Coach Jong Uichico launched an e-learning series of clinics that complemented more that competed with all the running basketball webinars that dwelt a lot on the Xs and Os of the game. These were aired Wednesday and Friday nights and these videos can still be accessed through the Facebook page of the SBP.

Later came a special Tournament Coaches Course for coaches of women’s basketball. This featured international coaches as guest lecturers and was attended by the top coaches of the leading women’s teams in the country. And if that were not enough, another Women in Basketball webinar was also held, this time for the grassroots level coaches of women’s teams nationwide. Another set of international coaches were again the guest lecturers. The second webinar ended last week with Region 7 represented by coaches who handle school-based teams that participate in the DepEd series of tournaments. They were from Cebu, Dumaguete and Bohol.

And if the coaches of the women’s basketball teams had their share of learning, so did the lady referees. Just last week, a special webinar was held for SBP-licensed lady referees who form a minority of the male-dominated SBP Referees Academy. Note that the country already has lady FIBA international referees and two or three in the PBA. It’s hard to miss them with their ponytails and smaller frames. Another webinar is now on deck for women who are also interested in becoming referees, whether or not they have previous experience in running up and down the court and blowing that whistle.

Another first that caught the SBP by surprise was the setting up of an e-sports basketball team for a FIBA E-sports online tournament. The digital Gilas team swept Indonesia in its first round of games, 5-0, and is now looking forward to the next leg by continuing to practice. It’s the only basketball team that hasn’t been affected by the pandemic and it now looks like they’ll be the most active for a long time from now on.

And although the FIBA World Cup 2023 is three years away, the SBP, along with co-hosts Indonesia and Japan has been burning serious Zoom hours as it prepares for the big event. A logo has already been approved and everything has gone online in terms of strategizing, preparation and planning.

While the SBP office is technically equipped to go online, never before have they spent so much time in the digital world while working from their homes. And with all big events on hold for now, it sure looks like they’re making the most of it so that when all shall be safe, they’ll go back to a normal, but this time with an additional venue on top of the basketball court.

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