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“I Can And I Will” – Farewell to #22

on Jan 11, 2018 in AAU, Basketball, Basketball Blog, Kids,Youth, Panorama Ridge Thunder

  Last month I was asked to deliver a speech I was not prepared for but truly honoured to share some of my families thoughts on how Raphael touched our lives. This is my version of the Coach’s Tribune   Thank you for being here tonight. I’d like to thank the Alcoreza family for giving me this opportunity to speak about a special young man. I’d also like to thank this loving community who have given this family the love and support during their time of grief.   This is a first for me and definitely one of the toughest document I’ve ever hard to put together. So please bear with me.   First time I saw Raphael was of course on a basketball court, Spring/Summer of 2012 to be exact. My eldest son Cameron, 12 yrs old at the time, was playing for a club team on the West End of Vancouver and was scheduled to play another boys team from Burnaby. Our family was new to the youth boys competitive basketball scene so it was an exciting time. My wife and I were Uber parents back then which meant we drove and took our boy to local games and got to watch from the sidelines. I recall seeing Raph and his Burnaby Eagles team just run my sons team out of the gym and telling my wife, I don’t think we have a very good chance against these guys 🙂 Back then … he already had the advanced skills for a boy his age and I also noticed one thing, he was always surrounded by fun-loving teammates, his brother Ian ( who I would always see shooting around during halftime or post games), his mom and his dad being there and cheering him on. Come to think of it nothing has changed since then.   A year went by, the family and I we’re at the stop light on 64th and 132nd in Surrey and there was this boy walking across our car, we all looked at each other and said, “Is that the kid from Burnaby Eagles?” we thought that was odd, what would he be doing all the way here, maybe he’s lost or something, nevertheless we didn’t get a chance to say hello. .… A few weeks after we bumped into him again at a Grade 7 Confirmation ceremony at StBernadettes. I had the guts to ask him then, “hey kid, how are you doing? Just curious are you planning to play club basketball after Grade7?” … his response “I don’t know, I have to ask my mom” don’t worry Nelson that’s what they all say! For all I know he’s probably thinking stranger danger! Again I felt, an opportunity lost.   Another year went by with my son and I enjoying first taste of high school basketball at Seaquam Secondary. We had an OK season of learning but unfortunately didn’t get invited to the big dance of the Surrey playoffs. So we decided to check out this Panorama Ridge vs Tweedsmuir Grade 8 Boys Finals and guess who we saw? Raph and his band of Thunder brothers! I’m not sure if Nelson remembers this but he was that  proud Filipino dad in the stands that night, so I decided to approach him and give him a business card and said hey I’m looking to put a team together for local tournaments I’d love for your son to run with us, maybe stop by at StBernadettes at so and so time and see what you think. I’m a risk taker in case you haven’t noticed and wasn’t going to give up … but they showed up at the first practice and I was stoked! That summer our son transferred from Seaquam to Panorama Ridge and the rest was history.   To me our families were destined to cross paths. Let me correct that, our families were destined to cross paths and connect many other families. The Alcoreza’s has introduced us to many of the families that we’ve become close to over the years such as the Burnaby South families, Panorama Ridge, Vancouver College, Seaquam, Delview, Johnston Heights, QE, Tamanawis, Holy Cross, StBernadettes, the 204 Families and ultimately any basketball family in and around this province. Thank you for this blessing!   There is a saying, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”   He was good on both!   He was always truthful, humble, polite, never disrespectful, empathetic towards others, and fair in his character. His abilities, competitive spirit, basketball IQ, drive and calm demeanor built his reputation as a special athlete that was admired by most.   Raph would often ask me:   – Coach, what do you think about this NBA player? We would talk about the pros and cons. – Coach, what do you think of this high school player? I would then flip the script and ask him, do you think you could play with him on the same team? … we would talk about pros and cons. – Coach, is the St.Bernadette Gym open tomorrow? I would respond with if you’re there on time …. I figured his house is literally 400 metres away from the gym, so he can’t mess this up. – Coach, can I run this...

Panorama Ridge 2015 – 2016 ‘We Are PR’ Collection

on Jan 3, 2016 in 204 Projects, Basketball, Custom, Designs, Panorama Ridge Thunder, Performance, Screen Print, Team Wear, Warm Ups

‘the Ridge’ hoops program gets a makeover for the 2015 – 2016 season with this Thor-inspired redesigns for the PR Thunder. You will hear these ballers making noise in their muscle-sleeve style jerseys, reversible shorts, ‘We Are PR’ shooting shirt and track...

Grade 9 Boys Basketball – 2015 Surrey Champions

on Feb 11, 2015 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

Save the best game for last as they say. A perfect 10-0 record in their district for the Grade 9 Boys Thunder team to capture their first Surrey Championship banner. All the hard work has paid off and it’s just the beginning. Congrats on a convincing 68 – 38 victory over last years Champions! Good Luck in the Fraser Valleys!   Takeaways: biggest difference I saw, “TRUST” …. the ball was never sticky and it moved around, sooner and often. Play for each other and help the helper. aggressive point guard play put a lot of pressure on their defense and good things happen ….. “penetration is the key”  inside and outside game was on point intense defense sustained, 1st 24-11 us, 2nd 39-19 us, 3rd 56-28 us, 4th 68-38 for the finish. No taking foot off the gas pedal PR shot 28 for 55 (51%) vs Semi’s 14 for 55 (25%) ……. consistency came at a great time we controlled the tempo all the way through, from beginning to end ….. no slow start we only fouled when we needed to, limited them to 4 out of 6 on the charity stripes ….. compare that to our 9 out of 15 it’s good to have that taste of winning in your mouth, now you have to continue to be hungry for that taste Check out the box scores and game...

PR vs Semiahmoo

on Jan 29, 2015 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

#1 and #2 meetup in league play and it did not disappoint. Very up and down game with PR getting the lead most of the game but the Totems managed to always catch up. In the end, the outside shooting kept the team in the lead considering how many easy lay-ups the team missed. PR wins, 54 – 46. Takeaways: slow on rotation for help defense, which leads to fouls lots of fouls kept a good free-throw shooting Totems team in the game ……. fouls tend to occur when you’re tired and lazy on defense why aren’t the guards bringing the ball up? …. we’re slow to progress, we never advance the ball, I see guys getting looked off and we never force speed as an advantage we gotta squeeze those outlet passes and have better grip on the ball lack of communication, don’t hear the team yapping about anything finish, finish, finish never make a pass with your back in the other direction, it will get stolen ….. we need our guards to have better confidence on handling the rock and not feel we have to pass it off. They’ve gotta set the tone and get everyone to their spots to allow for the offense to start 7 3-pointers was needed to beat that team, we need to have inside and outside game lack of post presence and defense in the paint will be an achilles heel ‘make them fear what you can become’  ...

PR vs White Rock Christian

on Jan 28, 2015 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

Slow start ……. again but will take a 69 – 14...

PR vs Guildford Park

on Jan 22, 2015 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

The Thunder squad used their height advantage and chalked up another regular season win. Takeaways: Good to see some of the 2nd line players get burn time too much dribbling and not enough ball movement guys passing and staying stationery, if it’s a motion set …. better start movin’ 65 – 35 Win...

PR vs Tweedsmuir

on Jan 19, 2015 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

The 64th Ave showdown started off slow but broke it open with steals and easy buckets. Able to shut down a long distance shooter and let the rest of the team beat you is a good strategy. Good league win with a 69 – 43...

PR vs QE

on Jan 12, 2015 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

Another 51 – 24 regular season win for the...

PR vs D.W. Poppy

on Jan 10, 2015 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

Playing for 3rd place @ the Robert Bateman tournament against D.W. Poppy was not an easy task. Got a chance to mix up the lineups so congrats to the boys for finishing a credible 3rd! No takeaways just...

PR vs Heritage Woods

on Jan 10, 2015 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

Back to back games for the Robert Bateman tournament matches the Thunder team with a solid Junior team from Heritage Woods. The Thunder team pulled out a 62 – 61 thriller in overtime! Takeaways: Monitor the fouls Can’t have a slow start and play from behind 2nd OT in 2 days will have an effect on conditioning rebounding, rebounding, rebounding the press looked good on a number of occasions but noticeably slower at the end of games because players are tired simple concepts on defense, “defend before the ball gets there, not when the ball gets there!“ playing aggressive gets you opportunities on the free throw line early but you still gotta knock them down the...

PR vs Norkam @ Robert Bateman

on Jan 9, 2015 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

2nd tourney for the season takes us East to Robert Bateman Secondary in Abbotsford for a tough Juniors tournament. Friday night special against Norkam from Kamloops. The team battled down the stretch with a big three to go up one but a late foul put them at the free throw line with 1 out of 2 free throws converted to get to overtime. With 7 seconds left Norkam commits a turnover that allowed the Thunder guard for late game coast to coast winner only to get blocked by Norkam’s big, ball game! Heartbreaker that put them into the losing pool. Way to take that Grade10 team to overtime! You will learn from it. The...

PR vs Vancouver College

on Jan 8, 2015 in Basketball, Panorama Ridge Thunder

First game of the year and the rust definitely was a factor 🙂 Great opportunity to play against a renowned program. Congrats to the Thunder for pulling out a 64-49 victory. Takeaways: better job at rebounding the team didn’t foul as much, instead they got to the charity stripe early in the quarters and got easy buckets from foul shots the penetration and dish game was on point nice to see the “pinch-post” sets being ran, it was effective on three straight plays … an open shot, a fake handoff and a pick and roll could have had a 4-point play but did not convert the free throw i found the VC guards to get their shots off more easier, our guards tend to work a bit harder to get a decent shot. Need to find a more efficient way in getting easy buckets They need to speed up their transition offense and look for the ‘rim run’ They’re not pressing to anticipate and truly cause a turnover, they’re pressing to just slow the offense down. They need to realize that a stronger pressure with more intense anticipation will get those easy steals. Guards need to force to one side and the rest overplays. they are undisciplined in close outs to shooters and fall for the shot fake …. a lot. You’re always taught to shuffle on closeouts so that you can adjust horizontally with good balance as opposed to leaving your feet this team reminds me of this car …………it’s beautiful, it looks aggressive, it looks like a beast, it looks mean but just like it’s paint job …. it’s got ‘No Finish!‘. They need more fundamental drills around finishing at the hoop, I see it all across positions that they tend to bail out on their shots and not focus on finishing strong and expecting the contact. Simple shot fakes, up and under’s, step backs, fade-aways etc.  Enjoy the game...

PR vs 204 Selects – Xmas 2014 Edition

on Jan 1, 2015 in Fall Ball, Panorama Ridge Thunder

Last exhibition run for the 2014 season with a playdate setup between 204 Customs Selects, Panorama Ridge and Killarney. Takeaways: not feeling pretty happy about rolled ankles on a few PR players, hopefully those kids can recover quick enough for their school seasons 204 had too many unforced errors seeing guys getting an offensive board on a free-throw is great for the offensive team but not acceptable for the defensive side ‘penetrate and dish’ works, you just have to know when to use it …….. i.e. when the defense gets sucked in and a teammate rotates for a passing angle close game overall, came down to free-throws with 2 clutch free throws from PR to seal the deal PR put on a good press that managed to draw a few turnovers The end result, Killarney 2-0, Pano 1-1, 204 0-2 …….. good turnout with players and guests so the gym was rockin! ‘hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard’...

PR vs Surrey Christian

on Dec 18, 2014 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

Another district win for the Junior Thunder team, 75 – 47. Takeaways: This is a game of runs, the boys go up by a lot, then off the pedal, then on the pedal. They gotta have the consistency to their approach. The videos will show you the run they made and how the team recovered Their full court press is easy to beat, if playing a 1-2-2 full court press, you need to have your last two anticipate the passing lanes, overplay once the guards have decided on which side to force I saw one kid break the PR press from coast to coast going through 4 guys, not acceptable …. always stop the guy with the ball! Still a lot of outside threes I’ve noticed, they look like the Houston Rockets out there. If they want to do that, there’s gotta be more penetration and dish to players moving without the ball around the arc Lazy defense, we rely too much on the around-the-back steal as opposed to facing the opponent head on and using our feet to beat them to the spot they want to go The rebounding does not create a ‘dome’ like space around the basket. The boys constantly get sucked in either forced to take it out of bounds because they scored a basket and there’s no rebound or players end up tapping the ball out which usually ends up on the opponents had for a put back. Body first before the ball! We gotta bang guys when they try to enter the key and get low, start driving those legs to push rebounders out of the key Focus on finishing strong in the paint at the peak of vertical. I see guys altering their shot and sort of bailing out and avoiding...

PR vs Pacific Academy

on Dec 17, 2014 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

The season opener didn’t prove to be much of a challenge with a 49-13 victory. PR put on the full court man to man and went on a 33-0 run to start the game. At that point most of the starters were done for the night while 2nd and 3rd lines got a chance to get a little more on the court. Takeaways: Better motion on offense saw more penetration and dish I still thought, way too many turnovers on PRs part for a blowout game …… too many travelling errors The team didn’t score as much in the second half. They should continue to focus on scoring to constantly widen the gap for points differential when it comes to seeding in the spring time for Fraser Valley playoffs Check out the boxscores and highlights!  ...

3rd place finish at the 2K14 St. George’s Domino’s Tournament

on Dec 7, 2014 in Panorama Ridge Thunder

First tournament of the year presents good competition right off the bat for the Grade 9 Thunder squad.  Here are some of the takeaways from this weekend’s tournament: Takeaways: Scoring buckets is not an issue for this team They live and die by the outside shots, not enough points in the paint considering their size …… they rely too much on the long range shots. Perhaps they don’t want the contact who knows. They had their way in the paint against Richmond High but not the case against St. George’s their shooters have good strokes so there will be some nights where shooting will be good and some nights where it will be bad ….. they gotta learn to be more multi-dimensional as a team and find ways to score more in the paint (i.e. post ups), in transition (fast breaks), from inbound plays and overall hustle plays they lack the defensive intensity that their opponents have, Holy Cross and St. George’s to name a few given the height advantage they get out rebounded on a regular basis play zone defense on this team and you will have a chance saw kids hustle with ‘first-to-the-floor’ mentality, those 50-50 balls can make the difference in close games ‘no middle’ = ‘yes middle’ … paying too much attention to the ball as oppose to cutting players in the paint no ball movement in their zone offense, no cutters …. no screen predictable passing not enough anticipation on their press-break, and once beaten others don’t help to stop the guy with the ball study your opponent …… if you know he likes to spot up for three in the left wing, make sure you defend him on the next one not after he knocks down 4 against your team. I think they should have went man-to-man on Saints and force our bigs to play defense in the paint on dribble drives change of possession transition fast-break is slow to progress …. they have the speed on the front line to advance the ball but they prefer to walk it up across half court …. they need to put that pressure on the defense on easy fast break opportunities guards that have good hesitation dribbles that shake the defender but kills dribble and forced to pass, that blow-by has to be complete with an attempt to either finish at the hoop or a pull up opportunity lack of communication on the court is evident …. players need to be always chatting with each other lack of rebounding and defense might get you by in your district but will be exploited when you get to Fraser Valley’s 2 and 1 record with wins against MEI Eagles and Richmond High is a great start to the season, they just gotta keep working in the lab and learn each others tendencies to get that chemistry better. Check out the boxscores here and highlights! vs Saints vs Richmond...