JOJO LASTIMOSA is many things to many people. To basketball fans, he’s the cold-blooded closer who is let loose on the floor by the Alaska Aces to close out and win games. For female fans he is the handsome heartthrob with the smoldering good looks and animal sex appeal. To the ordinary public he is one of the 25 greatest players in the history of the Philippine Basketball Association.
But nowadays he is a teacher and coach who shares everything he knows about the sport of basketball with the next generation of players.
PBA icon Lastimosa heads the Alaska Basketball Power Camp which teaches the most important aspects of the game of basketball. The camp is open to boys and girls.
“I think first and foremost participants will definitely enjoy my camp because my basketball drills will engage them. The drills are not monotonous and are designed for players to have fun and at the same time to learn something,” said Lastimosa who can empathize intimately with the camp participants because he is himself a former player.
Born Isabelo Lastimosa, Jr. on March 10, 1964 in Cagayan De Oro City, he is better known for his nickname Jolas. He played 15 years in the PBA with the Purefoods TJ Hotdogs, the Alaska Aces and the Pop Cola Panthers from 1988-2003.
Lastimosa was an important member of Philippine national basketball teams during the 1980s and 1990s. He also played for the University of San Jose-Recoletos in Cebu City and Ateneo de Manila University.
It was under then national team coach Joe Lipa where Lastimosa earned his monicker Jolas. The national team then had two Jojos: Lastimosa and Jojo Villapando. Not wanting to be confused Lipa Christened him Jolas. The name has stuck since.
Lastimosa joined the PBA in 1988 as one of the stars of Purefoods. He won Rookie of the Year honors and was named to the Mythical Second Team in the same year.
In 1991 he was traded to Alaska Milk for Elmer Cabahug. His career took off in Alaska. He became an integral part of the Triangle offense under coach Tim Cone
In terms of numbers Lastimosa played the best season of his career in his first year with Alaska. With then Alaska star Bong Alvarez recovering from injury, Lastimosa carried the team on his shoulders as the team scaled heights never before reached. Alaska won the first championship in franchise history in the Third Conference.
That year Lastimosa led the league in statistical points but narrowly lost the Most Valuable Player award to former teammate Alvin Patrimonio of Purefoods.
He was Alaska team captain when Alaska won the 1996 Grand Slam. With the team were PBA all stars Bong Hawkins, Jeffrey Cariaso and 1996 MVP Johnny Abarrientos. It was the fourth Grand Slam in the league’s history.
In 1998, he again led the Alaska team to the championship of both the All-Filipino and Commissioner’s Cups. With him were Abarrientos, Hawkins and new Alaska star Kenneth Duremdes.
The Grand Slam again beckoned but his inclusion to the 1998 Centennial Team (together with Abarrientos and Duremdes) that played in the 1998 William Jones Cup (Champions) and the Bangkok Asian Games (Bronze Medal) prevented the team from repeating their 1996 feat.
He was turning 35 when as a member of the RP team to the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games he almost single-handedly led the team past Kazakhstan in the battle for third place and earned the Philippines the bronze medal.
After a long association with the Alaska team, Lastimosa was traded to the Pop Cola Panthers where he formed a deadly triumvirate with Nelson Asaytono and Noli Locsin.
In 2002, Lastimosa returned home to the Alaska Aces where he ended his basketball playing career in 2003.
His career in basketball is far from over though. He is in charge of helping mold the next generation of basketball players as head of Alaska Basketball Power Camp program.
This year the camp will start April at the Ateneo de Manila College Covered Courts. It will include basketball skills training in basic ball-handling like dribbling, passing and catching.
“I have always put in my own experiences and the things I’ve learned through the years. That’s what a real player will need to learn. It’s more a combination of skills training and character formation,” said Lastimosa.
“Those two have to go hand-in-hand. When you go into a camp like mine they will go hand-in-hand. To become a really good basketball player it’s not enough to just learn the skills. All the more they need to know how to build their character.”
The Alaska Power Camp of Lastimosa will progress to learning basic offensive skills like shooting and getting to the basket and defensive skills like establishing the proper defensive stance and maintaining balance at all times.
The camp then concludes with advanced or team play and will include learning team concepts such as setting screens, reading defenses and executing set plays.
“That’s what separates my camp from the other camps. I put in my experiences there in all the years that I’ve played and the camps that I’ve attended,” said Lastimosa.
The basketball power camp adheres to Alaska’s belief that sports play an important role in instilling the value of discipline, hard work, teamwork and determination among the youth.
Through the power camp Alaska helps the youth develop skills in team sports like basketball as well as the fundamental values that develop character and necessary attributes for success not just in sports but in everyday life.
In helping the youth become better athletes through the power camp Lastimosa and Alaska helps them become productive members of the community.
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