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Free training session aims to elevate basketball in Cochrane

“That’s my goal, to get them involved in sports, get healthy and to get disciplined. Basketball is very, very good for the body."
Founder of the Cochrane Ballers, Mike Bautista, second from the right, hopes to see some of Cochrane's talented young athletes show up for a free basketball training session on Saturday (Aug. 14). Photo submitted.

COCHRANE— Looking to develop some of Cochrane’s young talent, Mike Bautista, founder of the Cochrane Ballers, is hosting a free youth basketball skill development day on Saturday (Aug. 14) at 9 a.m. at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre.

The camp, for youth aged eight to 17 years old, is a collaborative project between the Cochrane Ballers, the Filipino Canadian Association of Cochrane Alberta, and the Calgary-based Filipino-Canadian Basketball Association (FCBA) Blizzards.

Bautista said he is hoping to develop the skill set of some of Cochrane’s basketball enthusiasts, but also perhaps scout potential players for bigger programs in the Philippines.

To help his scouting efforts, Bautista is enlisting the help of Andy De Guzman, who he enlisted to introduce basketball to children in Cochrane.

De Guzman played basketball in the Philippine Basketball Association, a professional league in the Philippines. He also coached college basketball in the Philippines and in California and is currently the head trainer and program director of the FCBA Blizzards in Calgary

“Andy De Guzman is looking for a group of players to become professionals in the Philippines. We train in Canada,” he said. “Our main going for this event is to find some potential young players and develop their skills and shooting. If they want to continue their talents, why not, right?”

Bautista said he and De Guzman are hoping to bring the players to the next level, develop their skills and potentially help find them placement in college basketball programs in the Philippines.

Bautista said the athletes attending the training day will be running through shooting, ball handling and dribbling skill development exercises at the camp.

“Just the basics, for now,” he said.

Although the coaches might be looking for talented players to develop, the day is also about having fun, getting Cochrane’s youth interested in basketball, and to teach them about the discipline that sports requires, Bautista said.

“That’s my goal, to get them involved in sports, get healthy and to get disciplined. Basketball is very, very good for the body,” he said.

Although the camp is looking to identify players for development for Filipino basketball programs, all are invited to attend, Bautista said.

Spots in the camp are limited, and only 30 participants will be allowed to register. To find out more, call or text Mike Bautista at 403-999-9123.