WNBA cager spends time with BASECO kids

More than 40 children in an elementary school in Baseco, Manila were in high spirits after they came face-to-face with an important visitor on Thursday.



More than 40 children in an elementary school in Baseco, Manila were in high spirits after they came face-to-face with an important visitor on Thursday.


Twelve-year-olds JB and Almac did not know what to expect. “Hindi namin kilala ang mga players ng NBA, ang alam lang namin sikat sila sa buong mundo,” said JB.


What surprised them was the international basketball player they were expecting was actually a woman -- WNBA Champion Taj McWilliams-Franklin.


“I am so excited to be here with you and thank you for coming in early. We have prepared fun activities for you,” Mc-Williams Franklin told the children, who are living in one of the country’s biggest slum communities.


The outreach project was an initiative of NBA Cares, the CSR arm of the National Basketball Association, through its long-time partnership with World Vision in the Philippines. 


Carlo Singson, NBA Philippines managing director, said it was their way of giving back to communities.


“It’s always heartwarming to spend time with the children. It’s a blessing to be given opportunities like these,” Singson said.


McWilliams-Franklin, also known as Mama Taj, had a story-telling session with the kids, and shared her passion for books.


“I love games, I love basketball. I am really tall so I play basketball, but I love reading way more than basketball,” she said.


“On the way over to the school, I was reading on the bus, the whole time throughout the traffic,” she added.


The two-time WNBA champion and six-time WNBA All-Star, who spent 14 seasons in the league, and two championships under her belt, said books have been a big part of her personal growth.


“No matter what I do, where I’m at, reading is a big deal for me and to share it with the kids is such a humbling experience,” McWilliams-Franklin said, encouraging the children to do well in school. 


The WNBA champion likewise played a team game with the kids, which later became an opportunity for the Olympic gold medalist to impart to them valuable lessons about sports. 


“It’s not about winning, it’s about the effort, and the heart you put into the game. That’s what matters more than anything,” McWilliams-Franklin said. 


As for the girls, she told them: “Make women's basketball a huge sport in the Philippines.”


McWilliams-Franklin is in the country to participate in the culminating activity of the  Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Philippines 2016 National Training Camp on Sunday, April 24 at the SM Mall of Asia.







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