© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
Jerome Echavez stands at centre court in the gym at Prince Albert Central Institute, a place where he spends all his free time playing the game he loves and uses for a multitude of reasons.
Basketball is indeed a sport that crosses many borders and provides numerous outlets for its participants.
There are those who play the game at a high level so they can satisfy a competitive fire and others take to the court for the recreational enjoyment and camaraderie of a little one-on-one or a game of 21.
Still others just have a passion for the sport and use it as a stress reliever and that is exactly the category Jerome Echavez falls into.
“Almost everybody plays it back home,” says Echavez who moved to Canada from the Philippines about seven years ago. “I like the team play and the leadership.”
Echavez spends any free moments he has on the court whether it is during noon hour at school or after school on the driveway playing games against his brothers. Although his school team, Prince Albert Central Institute, did not enter any tournaments this year, they did play a number of exhibition games and as a result Echavez was named the school’s top basketball player when year-end awards were recently handed out.
Echavez, who cheers for the Los Angeles Lakers and enjoys watching Kobe Bryant play the game, takes to the court these days for another reason: to remember his father who passed away suddenly while on a trip to the Philippines less than two months ago.
The younger Echavez says he used to play ball against his father as well as his siblings and although he is only finishing his Grade 10 studies, he knows what he wants to do in the future.
“I’m going to go into medicine because my father was a doctor,” says Echavez.
Although he realizes he won’t turn the heads of scouts for scholarship opportunities from his play on the court, he still plans to play the game at a recreational level for as long as he can. Shooting hoops helps him relax and he will likely need to do a lot of that if he gets into the college of medicine.