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Cagayan de Oro’s Roldan Sara and the rest of the Nokia Pilipinas U16 National Team have completed their stint in the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS). RP Team Coach Eric Altamirano said the recent stint allowed the team to focus on shooting and ability to attack to the zone, two things that would help in the country in its quest in the Fiba-Asia U16 Championships set in Malaysia later this year.

Altamirano made this assessment following the team’s 10-day trip to Canberra, Australia , where it attended a training camp and competed in a pocket tournament at the AIS as facilitated by National Intensive Training Centre Program (NITCP) head coach Rob Beveridge.

“The players took to heart teachings on shooting and taking advantage of the gaps when the opponents play zone. The players were exposed to the international level of competition where games are played by taller and quicker players. The teachings in the AIS training camp helped us a lot in winning our games during the tournament, ”explained Altamirano on the performance of the team supported by Nokia Philippines and TAO Corporation under the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas headed by Manny Pangilinan and executive director Noli Eala.

Along with the camp, the team played and won all four straight games in two days, including the finals against the New South Wales Metro with a score of 90-69.

In that finals game, Jeron Teng led the team with 19 points and two steals, followed by Michael Tolomia’s 15 points and Kiefer Ravena’s 14 and seven assists. Von Pessumal tallied 14 points and six assists while Cedric Labing-isa posted 10 points and two assists.

Aside from New South Wales Metro, other participants of the tournament were Australian Capital Territory (ACT) 1 and ACT 2 that will be participating in Australia ’s National U16 Championship to be held in July.

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“This victory should not remove our focus from our long-term goals, which is to prepare for the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) qualifier and the Fiba-Asia Championships, “Altamirano explained as he was joined by coaching staff Joey Guanio,Vic Ycasiano and Mon Jose along with conditioning coach Dan Rose, head of operations Ito Lopa from TAO Corporation and physical therapist Gimbo Corre in the trip.

The Nokia Pilipinas U16 team is slated to compete next in the Fr. Martin’s Cup’s college division and the Nike Summer League high school division in the next two months. It recently had a stint in the Nike Elite Camp in Brent, Mamplasan and played senior teams during the Nokia NBTC D-League.

Aside from Sara, other members of the team in the Aussie trip were Ralph Nayve, Kristoffer De La Costa, Jeffrey Javillonar, Paolo Luis Romero, John Aldrin Lunas, Kevin Ferrer, Joshua Torralba, Michael Anthony Pate, Rene Sta. Maria and Joshua Alolino. Bobby Ray Parks is still in the US .

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