After the defeat of the La Salle University in Philadelphia’s La Salle Explorers in the Sweet 16 of the US NCAA Tournament last March 28 at the hands of the Wichita State, the management of the team decided to tap players from La Salle schools around the world in order to bolster their line-up for next year’s tournament.
De La Salle University-Manila, with its rich history in Philippine basketball, has become one of the prime targets for potential players to suit up for the Explorers next season.
It is not just the Explorers who have begun to look for players from sister schools abroad. Other NCAA schools such as UCLA, Kansas State, and North Carolina are currently scouring for more talented players around the globe to fill specific roles.
US NCAA president Mark Emmert says, “The league has much to offer for young and unseen talents all over the world, so we have agreed upon the board to broaden our contacts to reach talents, specifically in Asian countries.”
NCAA agents said that they were eyeing countries with a lush basketball culture, and the Philippines was one of those identified in the region, along with China, Taiwan and Singapore.
Several scouts have already begun to conduct try-outs in Manila as other U.S. schools have simultaneously held try-outs with Ateneo de Manila University, National University and San Beda College. Several incoming freshman basketball prodigies were invited to these sessions as well as established players such as Kiefer Ravena, Bobby Ray Parks and Baser Amer. Try-outs in DLSU will be held in mid-April and will be open to students from other La Salle schools as well.
DLSU Office of Sports Development director Emmanuel Calanog comments, “This is a big break and chance for young Filipino basketball aspirants to play in the States. We are happy that talent scouts consulted here first because we all know, there are a lot of great teams out there, yet they went here first.”
Reigning UAAP Rookie of the Year Jeron Teng shares, “I was at first shocked about the news that the NCAA will be having try-outs here in Manila but now I’m really excited. I expect many young and excellent players to be coming over for this once in a lifetime opportunity.”