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WNBA star says Pinay dribblers can make it big

By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA

WNBA star Alana Beard believes in the potential of young female dribblers in the country after spending a series of basketball clinics in Davao and Manila the past week.

“It’s the passion that you have for the game (that helps you succeed) and you have it here,” said the four-time WNBA All-Star.

Beard and former NBA player Cherokee Parks are in Manila to teach the fundamentals of the sport to young male and female kids as part of the US State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Sports Envoy Program. Last week, they conducted basketball and coaching clinics in Davao in partnership with the Philippine Sports Commission and the Alaska Aces.

Beard admitted that she didn’t know what to expect from these clinics apart from her knowledge that the Philippines is a huge basketball country.

The energy and raw talent of the kids, particularly the girls, surprised the Los Angeles Sparks shooting guard.

“It was cool to see a lot of girls come out to the clinics, and to be able to see their talent and potential is just amazing,” said Beard, adding that she was impressed by how quickly the kids applied what were taught to them.

“They’re ready to learn, ready to listen. It’s the discipline that you don’t see much in kids these days,” Beard said.

Beard was thankful to be part of this initiative, saying that creating and sustaining a grassroots program where kids can learn the fundamentals are essential in helping them reach their potentials to the next level.

“I think one of the most important things that I heard is that in order for you to envision what you want, you have to actually see it. So for women to come in and teach the girls the game of basketball is something that they need to see in order to love the game and I’m happy that I’m part of these kids’ experiences,” Beard said.

The clinic in Manila was held on Monday and Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Vito Cruz.

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