Dan Sara, 17, De La Salle University

“I feel like a hero every time I wear my Nokia Pilipinas U-18 National Youth team jersey. Each of us would wish to represent and fight for our country in our own little way. I am happy that through basketball, I am able to show to the world how proud and honored I am to be a Filipino.

When I was three, my dad used to bring me with him every Sunday to play basketball with his friends. At eight years old, I had the opportunity to play for my school in Cagayan de Oro and my coaches back then provided me with the right training. That’s the reason why my jersey number is 8.

I learn a lot from our travels — not just about basketball but also about other cultures. I get to explore different places, meet new friends, and experience their culture. I also get this rare chance to show to the world that Filipinos can compete in sports especially in basketball.

I’m shy when I’m around people that I don’t know. I tend to be quiet and just sit there. But when my teammates became my friends, I started to treat them like my brothers. We share rooms when we travel. Every time we play for the Nokia Pilipinas U-18 National Youth team, we don’t think of our schools. We put the rivalry behind. We play for the flag. We just play for one team.

Each basketball player wishes to play for the PBA or the even bigger NBA. But I’d like to take one step at a time. Now that we qualified for the FIBA Asia U-18 in Yemen, I dream that in September we can make it to the top three or, better yet, bring home the gold medal.”

excerpt on article by Ana Kalaw (The Philippine Star)

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