Ex-PBA star extends helping hand

30 Mar
Vince Hizon (R) showing some of the players in attendance on the correct way of shooting the ball during yesterday's basketball clinic at the Airport Mall in Berakas. Picture: BT/Yee Chun Leong

Vince Hizon (R) showing some of the players in attendance on the correct way of shooting the ball during yesterday’s basketball clinic at the Airport Mall in Berakas. Picture: BT/Yee Chun Leong

VINCE Hizon is in town and he is looking to promote the game of basketball.

The former Filipino national cager is in the Sultanate for the KFC Fitness Zone 3-on-3 Streetball Challenge at the Airport Mall in Berakas.

The retired Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) player conducted a clinic as part of the ‘Hopes in the Hoop’ programme together with national basketball coach Kevin Reece, and his fellow compatriot, Erwin Velez yesterday.

Hizon has travelled to several countries to promote the sport that he loves and he highlighted the importance of the grassroots programme.

“I’m happy to be here. The most important thing is that they (the kids) enjoy what they do no matter what it is,” said Hizon in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

“All (the countries) have been very good because we get to teach the kids the game of basketball. It is the same in all sports where we require the basics such as passing or dribbling.

“We have to teach them from the grassroots first before working their way up. A lot (of players) like to get a jumpstart and try to be the next Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant but there is a lot of work to be done first,” he said.

“We are also looking for talent everywhere we go. It was awesome in Auckland (New Zealand) because there was this half Filipino who was really good. We noticed him and in the end he was recruited to play for De La Salle College back in the Philippines,” continued Hizon.

At one time the 42-year-old was the most popular player in the PBA as well as the most popular sports figure in the Philippines according to the AC Nielsen Asian Rim Survey in 1998.

He had a pro career of 11 years (1993 – 2004), mostly with Ginebra in the PBA, and was the first Filipino to play professionally in the United States in 2004 for Pennsylvania Valleydawgs, where they won the USBL (United States Basketball League) championship in the same year.

He had a stellar career with one PBL (Philippine Basketball League) title, four PBA titles and one Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medal under his belt.

Asked about the difference about playing in the US and back home, the shooting guard replied: “The game is the same everywhere. The regulations are the same and the rim is at 10 feet.

“Asians are quicker… I would say the game is more horizontal while for the Americans, it is vertical with all the high leapers. Both are rugged and can be physical,” he said.

“Others are catching up by sending their coaches overseas to the US for clinics for development,” added Hizon.

The 6ft 2in Filipino also urged those with with interest to pursue the sport.

“Just bug your mother or father to put up a rim. There is no need for a full court. Even a little space is enough to just for a shoot around,” said Hizon.

“If you enjoy it then you can always attend the camps here and they can just learn the basics,” he said.

Hizon will play in an exhibition game with the winners of both the student and open categories.

A meet and greet session will be also held today at Imperial Sports at Citis Square in Berakas at 8pm.

Source: The Brunei Times

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