MANILA, Philippines – Veteran mentor Nat Canson is in town as coach of the Indonesia national Under-18 squad for a series of tune-up games with local varsity teams in preparation for the SEABA Under-18 basketball championship this month.
“We will compete in the SEABA Under-18 basketball tournament starting June 26 in Singapore, which is why we are in Manila for tune-up matches with local varsity squads as part of our preparations for the event,” said Canson during Tuesday’s PSA forum at the Shakey’s UN Avenue branch in Manila.
Still looking sharp and alert at 71, Canson, who once handled Sta. Lucia in the PBA, said they hope to make it to the finals of the five-nation tournament also featuring Laos, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The finalists in the Singapore competition will represent Southeast Asia in the FIBA-Asia Under-18 cagefest from Aug. 17 to 26 in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, he added in the session sponsored by Smart, Shakey’s and Pagcor
Also the national coach of the Philippine squad that finished fourth in the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games, Canson said the average height of his boys was 6-foot-3 “but they are still behind in the basics compared to Filipino cagers.”
Showing that he has not lost his touch, Canson recently steered the Indonesian ballclub Muba Hang Tua to the championship of the National Basketball League (NBL), Indonesia’s equivalent of the PBA, earning him Coach of the Year honors.
But he is seriously considering changing teams since the owner of his former Indon squad, Pelita Jaya, who has vast interests in mining, banking and industry, wants to form a new club that will also compete in the NBL.