It has been a great month so far for Philippine sports with our Filipino athletes exceling in different sports in the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. June also jumpstarts the beginning of Filipinos’ quest to gain viable spots in different international competitions including our Philippine basketball national team’s on going quest to make it to the 2020 Olympics. We celebrate the victory of all kinds of sports but in the core of every Filipino is our passion for basketball.
Our love for the game is the reason why we’re easily excited when international basketball personalities visit the country because we see our talent from a different perspective. Such talent is Paul James Fabritz (also known as PJF), an international basketball trainer to the biggest names in the NBA, WNBA, and the NCAA. Globally known as one of the top vertical jump specialists in the world, Paul was initially a D1 college player before he sustained an injury that pushed him to study the science behind performance enhancement. He was able to bounce back from his injury but decided to pursue teaching the skills needed to improve the game. What started out as teaching a couple of kids has now led to an entire team of performance specialists that bring a new perspective to the much loved sport.
Sponsored by Unlimited Sports Performance Center in Pasig, PJF Performance was brought to the country by Coach Nico D’ Haenen to give even more depth to the sport that Filipinos are extremely passionate about. Paul initially heard about how popular the sport is in the country, “I heard how popular basketball was in the Philippines and I wanted the opportunity to experience that passion and also get to work with players from the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) and see the talent over here.”
Working with top players like Mark Barroca, PJ Simon, and Dondon Hontiveros and watching a couple of basketball games here, Paul saw first hand how talented our basketball players are. From an international perspective, Paul believes we have what it takes to compete with the best, “The guys I got to work with since I got here have been very very quick, their speed and agility is on a NBA level. I feel they can offer a lot to any international league, especially the guards because of their speed.”
He also says that Filipino basketball players have the advantage of being “teachable”, meaning that even the best of the best are still humble enough to be taught and this can be a great asset.
Paul and the rest of his team at PJF Performance value the importance of mental toughness, “I think that the biggest separator is the mentality which Filipino players have of finding their zone and finding it consistently.”
His program is unique because it also includes the importance of nutrition (something local basketball players are still learning) and what players do both on the court and off the court to keep up with the athleticism now required by leagues everywhere.
As for his advice to struggling players, “I would say, strengthen your strengths, have something that separates you. You have to be able to catch your coach’s eye by knowing that one area that separates you. A coach doesn’t want just someone pretty good at a lot of things but a specialist. Just emphasize your strengths and identify your weaknesses and improve that.”