Emanuele Huan JieWhen Emanuele Huan Jie joined the IB programme at ACS (Independent) as a Year 5 student in 2018, his dream of playing A Division basketball was dashed when he found that the Co- Curricular Activities (CCAs) was only starting from Secondary 1. He was resigned to focus on other aspects of school life until he was introduced to the Oldham Club community.

Read on as Emanuele shares his experiences.

My journey of finding basketball in ACS was one of disappointment and hope. I was disappointed because basketball CCA’s lack of presence and this was confirmed by teacher-in-charge of basketball, Wong Ping Loong. I then focused on other aspects of student life.

My basketball experiences were diverted from playing pickup ball after school when I was introduced to Oldham basketball community by Riku Ng from ACS (Barker Road).

During my first session at ACS (Barker Rd), I was overwhelmed by the physical intensity of playing full court and was lost regarding spacing and floor positioning. Many of the moves I could pull off confidently during a three-on-three match ended up in turnovers under the highly packed confines created by the burly bodies of multiple defenders. I remember sitting courtside, exhausted and disappointed over my poor play. It was almost it was my first time picking up a basketball, and my hard work spent on and off the court was for nought.

However, what I found amidst this adversity was kindness, mentors and a brotherhood.

Coach Joel Vinson, a highly respected figure in the community showed patience in explaining the nuances of the full court game and highlighted various aspects I could work on.

Kelvin Frany, a past captain of the Singapore Schools team took time to practise with me my spin move, patiently aiding me through every loose ball.

Daryl Chung, the chapter head, or Marc, an explosive guard would generously send me home after team suppers, despite having to wake up during the wee hours of the next morning for work.

It became less about me as a player, less about basketball as a game but the bonds we shared. What struck me was although many players had the opportunity to join established clubs, they were willing to stick and develop with this team through every heartbreaking loss and setback. What rooted them firmly was the colours that ran in their blood, and immense gratitude to the ACS identity which carried them in their days of youth.

The theme verse of the club Philippians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be evident to all” has been increasingly meaningful to me each time I lace up.

Despite the idea of gentleness appearing seemingly out of place amongst the highly competitive, testosterone seeping environment of the basketball court, it has time and time again been revealed to me. Be it the team prayers before games, upholding sportsmanship and playing fair, or even tearing and uplifting each other during hard losses.

It is thus with great joy that I recommend more ACSians be introduced to this community, with knowledge that they will be gladly accepted with open arms.

Emanuele Huan Jie
6.19 ACS (Independent)

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