MANILA -- Former NBA player Derrick Alston and retired WNBA hoopster Allison Feaster visited Tacloban on Thursday to see how the survivors of typhoon Yolanda are coping 9 months after the storm ravaged the area.
Alston and Feaster first visited the Philippine Science High School to oversee the book donation organized by the US Embassy, US Aid, Sports United and the National Basketball Association.
This was followed by a tree-planting activity near the MacArthur landing site and a story-telling session at the San Fernando Central School.
Before leaving Tacloban, they played ball with a kid donning a New York Knicks jersey. The boy showed off impressive basketball skills even while wearing only a pair of flip flops.
“It’s been tremendous to say the least… to impact kids’ lives and bring a slight glimmer of hope to the people who suffered severe devastation,” said Feaster, who used to play for the Indiana Fever.
“One of the major highlights of our trip has been the love of basketball, we've learned basic skill-sets of teamwork and unity as you can see it in this community trying to rebuild.”
“Every clinic, the planting the trees, everything's amazing, I couldn’t have imagined it this way… For me, basketball was always my escape, my thing to them, sports is your escape,” said Alston, who last played for the Atlanta Hawks.
“If you just get that moment if you're happy and you're smiling playing with your friends it’s always a great escape, and that helps you rebuild your confidence.”
Alston and Feaster also held basketball clinics for the orphans of Children’s Joy Foundation, Philippine Sports for the Differently Abled and the children at the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Manila. -- Report from TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News