The Ambassador of Canada, John Holmes, was recently given full support by Chito Narvasa, the PBA Commissioner, for a basketball project aimed at those in a wheelchair through the Canadian Embassy. This is in full celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canada. We can expect great things to come now that the PBA is backing this wheelchair initiative.
Canada’s Proud History and the Future Partnership
Ambassador Holmes proudly pointed out that the basketball program has produced a lengthy list of athletes that are both perfect for it and have outstanding records. He also pointed out that Canada has, for the past two years, been the top picks overall in the NBA draft. Anthony Bennett was chosen in 2013, while Andrew Wiggins was chosen in 2014.
When asked to comment on his decision to back such a program with full support, Narvasa had this to say;
“It’s been a recurring mission of the PBA to be an inspiration in the hearts of many, regardless of the limitations that may present themselves. Our job is to ensure that opportunities are available for those who would like to participate and work hard.”
Ambassador Holmes commented afterward, saying;
“We want to provide support and opportunities for all avenues of sports. We’re very excited to present this program into the mainstream sport overall. While working with the PBA, we are hoping that we can get an exhibition going that involved the Philippine team, as well. This is just so we can demonstrate the challenges and hard work that is needed. We will also be sending out personal invitations, too.”
Sean Anthony of NLEX, James Forrester of Blackwater, and Matthew Wright and Norbert Torres of Phoenix are all Filipino Canadians who are going to be participating in the project. More players are expected to join, both voluntarily and from being personally invited to do so now that the PBA gets behind wheelchair initiative.
Elizabeth Baldwin-Jones, the Canadian Embassy’s Political and Public Affairs Counselor, also attended the meeting along with Pita Dobles, the PBA Executive Assistant to the Commissioner and Administration and Special Projects Director.
“We are unbelievably thrilled to have the opportunity to become partners with the PBA, and are more so humbled by the support that they have openly shared and given to us for such a program,” Baldwin-Jones commented.
Mike Frogley, a former Canadian coach and basketball player who played and coached in a wheelchair, will be within a group of experts who are visiting potential players and participants for the program. They will be shown skills and exhibitions that will demonstrate who will become a valued member.
The trip will be taking place in Manila, with David Eng, Jason Naval, and Bo Hedges joining Frogley. Jason Naval played for the Canadian national sitting volleyball team. Once they have finished in Manila, the group is then expected to move onto a Cambodia tour that is similar in plans.
Mike Barredo, the Philippine Paralympics Committee’s President, is going to be working and coordinating with Baldwin-Jones for the national wheelchair basketball team’s coach, Vernon Perea, in the Philippines for this upcoming project.