Canarias Basketball Academy has received this week two new players coming from the successful program “200.000 students in Mexico”.
In that sense, its manager, journalist Enrique Garay, turned up at the CBA residence in Tafira Alta, together with the U16 players’ parents, to know the facilities, the school and the environment in which Luis Antonio Álvarez and Diego Armando Willis will keep on with their academic, social and basketball training.
“CBA has exceeded our expectations; we know its worldwide prestige, but when we arrive in Gran Canaria, we have been even more impressed”, Garay claims, and adds: “We have found in Rob (Orellana) and Aranza (Calvo) more than people to treat professionally, we have found friends and they will keep us informed about the kids’ progress and performances”.
The promoter of the initiative confirmed that both players have been granted with a scholarship for one season, with a possibility to renew it depending on the results: “We trully trust this work method; that is why we brought two tof the best U15 players from the Mexican national team”.
Regarding Luis Antonio Álvarez, Garay underlined that “he is a very interesting forward, taller than 6’7 and knows how to dribble”, whereas Diego Armando Willis is a “natural pointguard, with a very interesting dribbling”. “I am convenced that with the competition at CBA Diego could become the national team pointguard”, predicts.
However, he also stressed that “beyond the physical condition, they know how to play and understand the game, but their main virtue is that they are good boys: respectful, disciplined and obedient. Not only they are going to fulfil their obligations, but also they are going to give their best”.
As an anecdote, Enrique Garay has known Álvarez and Willis’ parents since he coincided in his beginnings as a journalist “more than twenty years ago”, when “they were in the Mexican national team, which has made an influence so that their boys play this sport.
“200.000 students in Mexico”: “A event like this had never been done”
In México there were two circumstances that the visionary journalist Enrique Garay knew how to combine perfectly. On the one hand, Mexico is “the most obese country in the world” and, on the other hand, SEDATU (Urban, Territory and Agriculture Development Secretary), that belongs to the federal government, is especially in charge of a social function, building roads, hospital, parks… Thanks to PREP (Public Spaces Rescue Program), “SEDATU has built a basketball court in the majority of the parks”.
Consequently, Garay proposed to the Secretary Director, Jorge Carlos Ramírez Marín, “one of the closest men to the President”, that they could be take advantage of this important work to start-up a young basketball league in all the Mexican regions to try to fight the high obesity rate in young people.
After its first year, “200.000 students in Mexico” has involved a quarter of the town of the country (in particular, 627) or, said in a different way, there have been 50.000 games in total. Furthermore, this league started locally and moved into regional Championships to finish with a national Final Eight.
“An event like this had never been done before”, Garay affirms, adding that “there is not a similar program in Mexico by far”. That is why he thanks Secretary Ramírez Marín for this trust “to help this initiative go forward” and to Modesto Robledo, Ademeba (Basketball Mexican Sports Association) president, “to validate it at FIBA”.