Filipino playmaker Padrigao looking to use BWB lessons at U17 World Cup
MANILA (FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2018) - What a difference a week can make as Rence "Forthsky" Padrigao is able to say he's much better equipped to lead Philippines at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2018 after learning some invaluable lessons both on and off the court at the Basketball Without Borders Asia (BWB) Camp in Dehli, India from May 30-June 2.
Padrigao led Philippines in assists at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship, where his 4.2 dimes - to go with 5.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals - helped his country finish fourth and qualify for the U17 World Cup for the second time following 2014.
"It's a great honor for us because the last time we qualified was 2013 and for me I'm excited about playing out there and just giving all my best," said Padrigao, who is playing a year younger than his age group since he's born in 2002.
The Philippines picked up one victory at Dubai 2014 in finishing 15th of 16 teams. But that team was quite small in stature without a player standing taller than 6ft 3in (1.90m). This summer's Filipino unit will have quite a bit more size with seven players standing 6ft 4in (1.93m) or taller from the U16 team - including four that are 6ft 7in (2.01m) and above.
When asked what the Philippines need to do to be successful at the U17 World Cup, Padrigao said: "We just need to stick to our system and trust our coaches and teammates. If we stick together I think things will go well."
The Philippines will face hosts Argentina, Croatia and U16 European champions France in Group D. That will be a tough task, but Padrigao feels he is better prepared for it after spending nearly a week in India at the BWB Asia Camp.
"'BE COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE.' I THINK THAT IS ONE QUOTE THAT I WILL REMEMBER OVER EVERYTHING."
"I am so happy and grateful to have this kind of opportunity because not all the guys my age have this opportunity. That's why when I came here I took advantage of everything that they taught us," said Padrigao, who was named the BWB Asia Camp MVP for his showing in Dehli, India.
The camp not only provided Padrigao with elite level skills instruction from NBA and FIBA players and coaches but also important lessons about life as a professional.
"I did not just want to learn about basketball but also something about life," said Padrigao, who turned 16 years old on March 11. "Something I got from (former WNBA player) Ebony Hoffman was her saying: 'Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.' I think that is one quote that I will remember over everything."
Padrigao said the BWB camp also served to help in dealing with going up against taller opponents, something he - as a player standing 5ft 11in (1.80m) - knows he'll encounter at the U17 World Cup.
"For me this experience of going against guys who are way taller than me was good. I'm going to Argentina and it is the same thing, so I need to get used to it. It's like a practice for Argentina and the taller guys," he said.
Padrigao may not have grown in stature at all during his week in India but his understanding of the game grew in leaps and bounds - something he hopes to showcase in Argentina.