Mission accomplished – Graduating from the PG1 #FullCourtFerocity training

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As journalists covering mostly anything and everything basketball, we’re blessed.

We get to be around a game we love and are passionate about. Whenever there’s a big game or a big event, we’re usually there. We get access to the best players in the country, sometimes, in the world.

It’s a good life, really.

But here’s a not-so-secret secret: this is already plan B.

Growing up, I never dreamed of writing articles on players. I wanted to be the player writers wrote articles on. I wanted to be the MVP, the champ. I dreamt of having a bigger part in the game.

Obviously, that didn’t go too well. But thanks to the opportunity Nike Philippines gave us, I got a taste of what it is to be a legitimate hooper.

It began with launch of the Nike Zoom PG1 – with lucky consumers given a chance to test-run the newest addition to the company’s line. We, selected members of the media, were provided with pairs of kicks and basketball gear, and were invited to try the shoe out.

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That was the first part of feeling like a real basketball player – being given a full set of gear.

Around 80 participants took part in the PG1 launch. We all learned about the shoe – from the technology, to the design, to the specifics that Paul George himself requested to be added.

But beyond that, Nike really wanted us to fully understand the power of the shoe. So they put me and my fellow journalists through a four-session training camp that was designed to: 1) allow us to feel the power of the shoe, and 2) actually level up our skills.

This was part two of the legit hooper experience – receiving proper training.

The trainings were led by Coach Miggy Solitaria, an assistant coach for the De La Salle Green Archers. From day one, he had one particular goal in mind.

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“When Nike asked me to build a four-session training camp for you guys, ang main purpose ko talaga for us was to have fun,” he said. “Nakikita ko talaga ngayon na basketball is really getting serious. Minsan nakakalimutan natin mag-enjoy.”

There was so much to learn. On the very first session, we were already working on dribbling, shooting and their application in 1-on-1 situations.

“I remember our first session. Hindi ako gumawa ng program kasi gusto ko muna makita the kind of players that I will be training,” Solitaria admitted. “Hindi nag-match yung expectations ko na pag media man, not exactly into anything physical. Nakita ko na kayang kaya naman pala nila yung pinapagawa ko.”

None of it was easy. Coach Miggy would always say that we were able to execute the drills with ease. But seriously, our tongues hung out of oue mouths by the end of every session.

But they kept challenging us.

The trainings had us doing extra work within the week just so we could finish multiple rounds of agility ladders on the weekend. They had us practicing two-ball dribbling just so we could keep up with the drills.

All the extra work proved most helpful on the third session when Coach Miggy gave us a taste of the DLSU’s Mayhem.

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“I wanted you guys to experience a little bit of La Salle basketball. I incorporated some of the drills and exercises that we actually do in the team,” Solitaria said. “Para alam niyo kung bakit kami ganoon kabilis gumalaw or kung bakit kami mabilis magreact.”

You know how it looks so complicated when you watch it on television? Well, it ten times that in real life. It’s can be difficult to digest. It also was freaking tiring. But learning its foundations allowed us to understand why it’s so effective. Getting a glimpse of #Mayhem made us realize why La Salle is such a dominant team.

Every weekend, we put in the work at Gold’s Gym in Mandaluyong. And as we elevated our games through these trainings, I found myself falling in love with the PG1.

With how comfortable it grew on my feet, with the response and the traction that it gave me, it definitely had become my go-to shoe.

I kid you not. Even outside the training sessions, I developed a habit of using the PG1. Sometimes, I’d revert back to my Hyperdunks or my Kobe 11s. But I’d still keep the PG1s in backpack. Just in case.

And that’s part three – bringing two pairs of shoes to pick-up games.

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Throughout this journey, we were introduced to #Mayhem and to #FullCourtFerocity. We woke early on weekends to work with bands, agility ladders, medicine balls and all the stuff reserved for serious ballers.

And in those moments, in those trainings, we weren’t just members of the media.

We were legitimate basketball players.

As we graduated from the short camp, we return to the sidelines with our cellphones and our laptops. We go back to tweeting and writing instead of playing. But anytime there’s a chance to put on a jersey and take court, with new moves and fresh Swooshes, we’re now ready to #ComeOutofNowhere.