Article by: Woosuk Kim
Photograph by Shiho Kasai
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the Philippines, and many would agree that this national enthusiasm extends to our very own Bearcat community. Following the conclusion of second season tryouts after October break, ISM proudly presents the new varsity basketball teams, including up to ten players respectively from the girls and boys teams, that will participate in the IASAS tournament on February 1-3, 2017, hosted at ISM. Widely known for being some of the strongest teams in the competition, both ISM varsity basketball teams are aiming high, to make the most of their opportunity to play on their home court this year for the first time in six years.
Bamboo Telegraph interviewed some varsity players and their coaches to gain some insight into how the teams are looking, and what the expectations are for the players considering the potentially increased pressure of a home crowd at IASAS 2017.
“I am looking forward to playing in front of familiar faces and representing ISM,” said freshman and first-time varsity athlete Martin A. “I honestly did not expect to make the team but I am thankful that I did because I will be able to play with great players who have a lot of experience. I will take it as a learning experience and push myself as the season progresses.”
Throughout all the hard work and preparation the varsity teams have already been putting towards preparing for the tournament, Martin explains that his teammates have already become like brothers to him.
“I think that [brotherhood] is very important to have on a team and with that close relationship with one another, our team will produce good results,” said Martin.
While young players like Martin will be experiencing their first IASAS, the seniors on the team will be facing their last.
“It is great that IASAS is at home this year because we have a lot of seniors on the team who would love to win in front of their home crowd,” said Martin.
Joining the experienced seniors is Coach Thompson, who has been coaching the boys varsity team for eleven years. Although he has seen many talented players over his years as a coach, he feels like he cannot “compare teams from year to year.” He thinks that the returning players have become “older, and there is always new talent.” With the new varsity team this year, he expects them to be “very competitive.” Coach Thompson added that he is excited for IASAS at home, as the tournament continues to deliver “quality basketball” every year he has attended.
The boys team faces an ambitious challenge this year, aiming to jump to a higher ranking with the support of their home crowd from their fifth place finish at IASAS 2016 in Kuala Lumpur. The girls team, too, faces a great challenge in what should be another outstanding and nail-biting tournament as they aim to defeat the Singapore American School Eagles after narrowingly finishing with a silver medal for the past three years.
With all IASAS events being some of the most anticipated experiences each year, make the most of it as a Bearcat by getting involved with housing! Housing is a great way to stay updated on the tournament, meet new people, and support the Bearcat community. Pick up a housing form from the ATAC office, or easily access one from the ATAC blog at atac.ism-online.org!