Singapore teen basketball prospect draws interest from Philippines

Lavin Raj (in white) averaged 9.3 points and 3.7 rebounds over three games in SEABA 2017. (Photo: FIBA.com)

A member of Singapore’s national basketball team has drawn interest from a Philippine college after some impressive performances in the recently concluded Southeast Asia Basketball Association tournament in Manila.

According to a report from Philippines news outlet Philstar.com, the Philippine school’s head coach inquired about 16-year-old Lavin Raj, the youngest player in the tournament held from 12 to 18 May.

Raj, a student at the Republic Polytechnic, is reportedly interested to find out more about the offer. The teen has been playing basketball since he was six.

He drew plenty of attention after scoring 19 points in 20 minutes against Myanmar in his first appearance in the competition on Tuesday (16 May). He also notched 3 blocks in the game.

The two-metre tall centre followed up the performance with four points against Thailand on Wednesday, before recording six points and five boards in the final game of the tournament against Vietnam on Thursday.

Raj averaged 9.7 points, 3.7 boards and 1 block a game over the course of the tournament. Singapore finished fifth in the seven-team standings with two wins and four losses.

Singapore coach Franco Arsego was quoted by Philstar as saying that if Raj is hardworking, “he will be an integral piece to Singapore’s national team for many years to come”.

A Philippine coach told Philstar.com that he is not surprised at the interest shown in Raj, whom he said has “good footwork and a feel for the game” and “knows how to use his weight and size”.

“If he is taught properly and exposed to very good competition – plus, he has to work hard – he can be very good,” said the coach, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Yahoo Singapore has reached out to Raj for comment. The Singapore team is expected to return from Manila on Friday (19 May).

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