It’s no secret that the country’s top high school prospects oftentimes end up in Manila, playing for schools with elite basketball programs such as San Beda and Ateneo.
Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu’s (SHS-AdC) Joshua Sinclair, though, is the exception to the rule.
A 6-foot-4 forward oozing with tantalizing potential and talent, the Filipino-Australian is widely considered to be the best player of his class – a reputation he earned during the 2015 National Basketball Training Center National High School Championship, where he led his Magis Eagles to the title with an upset of the powerhouse San Beda Red Cubs. Along the way, he won the Most Outstanding Player and Best Defensive Player honors.
He also padded his burgeoning resume last weekend when he competed in the 2015 Fiba 3×3 World Tour Manila, becoming the youngest ever to do so. There, he held his own against grizzled veterans from Auckland, New Zealand and pros from the PBA, namely superstar Terrence Romeo, KG Canaleta, Rey Guevarra and Cebuano Aldrech Ramos.
“The experience was amazing. It was a dream come true. Playing against the PBA players and other professional players from around the world was more than I could’ve asked for,” said Sinclair in an exclusive interview with Cebu Daily News.
For someone who didn’t play basketball until three years ago, Sinclair has indeed come a long way.
“I didn’t start playing ball until I was 14,” Sinclair sheepishly admitted. “I used to play rugby actually. What started it all was a vacation in IloIlo, my hometown. All my cousins were asking me to play with them in the local court, I was new but I was a lot taller than them. So they wanted me to play in their team. Ever since that holiday, I’ve loved the game of basketball.”
While awards and accolades have come aplenty for Sinclair, he also had his share of disappointments.
Recently, he was disqualified from competing in the 15th season of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) due to eligibility issues. It was a development that hit Sinclair hard.
“I felt gutted at first. I really wanted to help the team by playing in the Cesafi tournament,” he said.
Still he didn’t ever think of bailing out. “After so much support from the Ateneo family, Coach Rommel (Rasmo) and the coaching staff and as well as my parents, I started to see the bright side to it all. I have other tournaments to join, I can still help the team in training for the Cesafi season and I can cheer my butt off every game for the boys.”
The glare from the spotlight and the scrutiny that comes with it can be jarring for anybody, much less a 17-year old who’s still learning the ropes of his native country. But Sinclair is gamely taking everything in stride and is already looking forward to a future playing basketball for the lucky school that gets to recruit him.
“I don’t think I’m there yet, I know people are watching though but I don’t mind. It’s an honor, but I have to focus and try not to worry so much about the lights. Wouldn’t want to get blinded,” shared Sinclair.