Valarie bounces back to earn MVP honours again

Jurong Secondary School's Valarie Lim (No. 123) showing the defensive side of her game. The 14-year-old was named girls' Most Valuable Player at the first Jr. NBA Singapore 2016 National Training Camp.
Jurong Secondary School's Valarie Lim (No. 123) showing the defensive side of her game. The 14-year-old was named girls' Most Valuable Player at the first Jr. NBA Singapore 2016 National Training Camp.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

A month ago, teenager Valarie Lim walked off the court in tears as her dreams were dashed.

The Jurong Secondary School student was named the Most Valuable Player of the season in the Schools C Division basketball tournament but it was not enough as her team lost to Singapore Chinese Girls' School in the final.

But the defeat only made the 14-year-old work harder and she was rewarded yesterday when she earned herself a coveted spot on the Jr. National Basketball Association (NBA) Singapore All-Stars team.

"I was quite upset (after losing the C Division title) because a lot of people thought that we would win but we disappointed them," said the point guard.

"I wasn't really discouraged because we wanted to win the title back, (and) it somehow encouraged us more to continue and get what we want back."

In fact, she earned herself yet another MVP title. This time, it was girls' MVP of the Jr. NBA Singapore 2016 National Training Camp that featured the nation's top 200 boys and girls aged 10 to 14.

The camp at the OCBC Arena began on Friday and ended yesterday.

"The training was different from school training as (I learnt) different types of skills. I learnt a lot - like dribbling skills to get past opponents," said Valarie.

Five-time NBA champion Ron Harper was involved in training and selecting five girls and 10 boys from the 200 to form the Jr. NBA Singapore All-Stars team.

The side will travel and play with other Jr. NBA All-Stars from Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia this year.

The location of their trip will be announced this week.

Said Harper: "I was impressed by the kids. Some of them are very knowledgeable and developed. They love the sport... The main thing I was telling (them) was that you have to have a dream, a goal, and don't let anyone discourage you."

Melvin Chua, 13, is one player who has set himself a goal. The Unity Secondary School student, a Cleveland Cavaliers fan who lists Kyrie Irving as his idol, was named the boys' MVP of the camp.

He said: "I'm very excited about going overseas to play. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"(I'm looking forward) to gaining more exposure against better players who are more experienced (and) exchanging tips with them to improve my game. In time to come, I hope I can achieve my goal of earning a spot on the national team."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2016, with the headline 'Valarie bounces back to earn MVP honours again'. Print Edition | Subscribe