The best up and coming stars in the country take centerstage in the second year of the Elite 60 Development Camp.
Proudly supported by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and MVPSF (Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation), the Elite 60 camp aims to gather the best high school players in a four-day training and development program.
And for the first time, the camp will only focus on 16-and-under players in the attempt to aid the Batang Gilas program.
"We try to come up with the program that will compliment and assist national team program specifically the U16 and U18 program," explained Camp Director Eric Altamirano in a press conference on Thursday at Capitol Commons.
"If there's any player that we can identify, the national team would be able to put them in the pool and have continuous training and hopefully make the national team," Altamirano went on, as last year's camp showcased an older age group.
In a show of support from the Gilas program, among those present at the press conference were Gilas team manager Butch Antonio and Josh Reyes who is an assistant coach to both the Seniors team and Batang Gilas.
"This really helps us with the identification of talent," shared Reyes. "As we all know you can't hold tryouts for the national team. You'll get a million players and you won't identify talent correctly. We lean on this program to identify the talent that we need. Having said that, being new to Batang Gilas, I rely on the knowledge and expertise of coach Alex (Compton) and coach E to help us along the way."
Coaches Compton and Altamirano have long been the masterminds of previous installments of the Elite camp. Future PBA stars Kevin Alas and Baser Amer were among those who were initially molded by the development programs set by the two coaches more than a decade ago.
"It's an exciting time for us. You can get so excited about the structure and miss the fact that it's about lives and build impact as we go forward," Compton mentioned.
Aside from the camp, there is also the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) where Altamirano and Compton have built a system of finding talent at the grassroots level. For this year's Elite 60 camp, the coaches used the NBTC network to conduct regional tryouts across the archipelago.
After the long tryout process, the best 60 players will now be trained under the tutelage of former Australian national team head coach Rob Beveridge.
"I know I'll be working with 60 kids and I've seen their hearts and passion," said Beveridge, who also conducted the Elite Camp last year. "Now it's starting to develop to a good platform which feeds the national team program."
The Elite 60 Development Camp will be held from May 10-13 at the Colegio de San Agustin Gym in Makati.