Cebu’s Mercader, Potot learn from Lithuania’s best in basketball clinic in Taiwan
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebuano basketball coach Raymon Mercader and strength and conditioning trainer Roger Justine Potot had a rare opportunity to learn what European basketball was all about after attending an international basketball seminar supervised Lithuania in Taiwan last August.
Potot and Mercader were two of the very few coaches who got the chance to be invited to the International Basketball University Coaches Clinic in Taipei.
The Lithuanian Basketball Coaches Association and Lithuanian Basketball Federation supervised the seminar.
Both Mercader and Potot are now eager to share what they have learned from the Lithuanians with the Cebuano basketball community.
They said that they went home to Cebu with plenty of important learnings from the Lithuanian coaches, who were also the ones managing the Lithuanian national team that competed in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Lithuania stole the spotlight in the group phase of the FIBA Basketball World Cup when they defeated powerhouse United States, 110-104, last September 3 in Manila.
Aside from the productive and one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from Lithuanian coaches, Mercader’s STARS Basketball Academy U16 squad also got the chance to compete with the former’s U16 squad during the Taiwan 2023 U16 Boys Basketball Tournament.
“As a coach, I learned about the importance of preparation. Not just the individual skills but also how the players respond in every situation and decide as quickly as possible,” Mercader told CDN Digital.
“I learned from them that skills, shooting and passing, and decision-making are some of the most important weapons aside from mental toughness and basketball IQ. Last but not least I figured out what we need to improve and develop to be able to compete in International Basketball,” he added.
In addition to joining the basketball clinic, they also got the chance to see Lithuania play against Puerto Rico and Latvia in their back-to-back exhibition games before the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
They got to see New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valančiūnas and guard Vaidas Kariniauskas who scored 15 points in their huge upset victory against the US.
Meanwhile, Potot shared that preparation was always the key to winning a game.
“The Lithuanians train their players to move well with or without the basketball. They pass to the open man. They set up screens, they seal for bigs to give their teammates better shots. They play unselfish basketball,” said Potot who is also the conditioning trainer of the ARQ Boxing Stable.
“That’s why I wasn’t surprised that they did very well in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Witnessing their game preparation in Taiwan was a memorable experience and I learned a lot from them, especially when they started to teach us during the coaching seminar.”
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