Jr. NBA Asia-Pacific boys team make history

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 13 2019 08:28 PM

The Jr. NBA Asia Pacific Boys Team. Handout photo

MANILA – The Jr. NBA Asia-Pacific Boys Team became the first international team to defeat a squad from the United States in the Jr. NBA Global Championship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.

Australian guard Donte Nance scored the game-winning basket against the U.S. South Boys Team for a 61-59 overtime win to finish a successful campaign for Asia Pacific.

Filipino center Henjz Gabriel “Kobe” Demisana tallied 8 points and 7 rebounds, while point guard Lionel Matthew Rubico contributed 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 steals in the victory. Through five games, Demisana averaged 6.3 points and 6 rebounds while Rubico tallied 4 points, 3 boards, 2 assists, and 2 steals.

Despite an injury that prevented his participation in the game against Africa, Roy Sebastian Reyes averaged 3.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals in four games. 

Meanwhile, the Asia Pacific Girls' Team bowed to the U.S. Midwest Girls Team in their final game, which saw Filipina guard Dianne Camille Nolasco lead the team with 6 assists and 3 steals. 

Nolasco finished the tournament with averages of 6.6 points, 4 assists and 1.8 steals in five games.

"It was challenging to have players coming from different countries, especially because of the language barrier," said Jr. NBA Asia Pacific Girls Team Coach Tony dela Cruz.

"The way these guys came together to play was amazing and to be the first team to beat a U.S. team was really special."

The U.S. Central Girls Team and the U.S. West Boys Team took home the gold at the end of the six-day tournament.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, three-time NBA Champion and Jr. NBA Global Championship Ambassador Dwyane Wade, and New Orleans Pelicans Vice President of Basketball Operations/Team Development and former WNBA All-Star Swin Cash presented the winning teams with trophies in post-game ceremonies.

The global youth basketball tournament took place from August 6-11 and brought together 32 of the top 13- and 14-year old boys and girls teams from around the world. 

This is the second consecutive staging of the Jr. NBA Global Championship and the first to feature an Asia-Pacific team. 

During the week-long event, the teams participated in activities designed to reinforce the Jr. NBA’s core values. 

The tournament also provided the young athletes with development opportunities and memorable experiences, including health and wellness programs, leadership development, and NBA Cares community service projects.

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