Valenzona to launch Big Men’s clinic
Olympian and veteran coach Arturo Valenzona has launched an ambitious program aimed at discovering tall players from among the poor communities in Manila, and hopefully, from the remotest parts of the country.
Valenzona, who was a member of the Philippine team which saw action in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics qualifying tournament in Yokohama, said that he and fellow players, coaches and basketball gurus are ready to launch the program in the hope of discovering tall boys who can be developed into becoming outstanding players in the amateur and professional leagues and, eventually, carry the country’s colors in international cometitions.
“Nagbuo na ako ng team that is now completing a study on the matter and maybe in the next few weeks, baka magsimiula na kami,” Valenzona said.
The program, to be dubbed the “Big Men’s Camp,” will be held under the aegis of the Arturo Valenzona Foundation will be opened free to interested youths, especially from among the poor communities in Manila and adjacent cities and municipalities.
“Libre ang camp para sa mga mahihirap nating mga kabataan, who cannnot afford to enroll in the already existing basketball clinics because they lack money,” said Valenzona, one of only two Filipino coaches who had completed the circle of handling and winning championships in collegiate, commercial (amateur) and professional leagues.
“This, actually, is a product of my going around almost the entire country where people suggested to me why not hold this kind of clinic for free,” he added. “Naisip ko nga, eh hindi naman lahat ng mga naging magagaling na player natin ay galing sa mga may pera, di ba?”
“The plan is for big men, pero puede rin yung hindi naman kalakihan. May mga magtuturo din naman na point guard or forwards. Grassroot-oriented naman ang program na pinaplano namin,” Valenzona, who once led the Far Estern University to the UAAP championship.
Valenzona was also a member of the Yco Painters team under the late coach Leo Prieto and has won seven consecutive Nationa Open championships as an amateur.
“As of now, dito muna sa Metro Manila kami magko-consentrate.. Kapag naging successful, baka ma-expand sa mga probinsya kung saan nandoon ang mga matatanagkad nating mga kababayan,” said Valenzona, who is best remembered for steering the San Sebastian College Stags to five straight championships in the NCAA.
In the amateur ranks, Valenzona coached and led the Tamaraws, Apcor, Pop Cola and Solid Mills to several title victories.
He also coached Tanduay Rhum to three PBA championships and the Gilbeys Gin to three runner-up finishes.