WHAT the Filipinos lack in height they make this up with their heart.

This was the assessment of Veteran US Jr. NBA coach Frank Lopez on the Filipino dribblers, saying heart is an important element why they excel in basketball against taller opponents.

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"While height may be important in basketball but it is not the most important. Filipino kids have the heart, the desire to become better and to be the first in whatever they get into," Lopez said.

"You can't teach heart and that's what most Filipinos already have. In the US, you can find a lot of tall kids but only few have the heart or the desire to become better. That's the difference. That's the advantage of the Filipino children," he added.

Lopez said for the past three years that Jr. NBA launched its program in the Philippines, he had seen a lot of local players who are talented.

"The good thing about Jr. NBA, we develop not just individual skills of players but their ability to work in a team," Lopez said.

Jr. NBA Asia country manager Carlo Singson, however, said the height problem of Filipinos may now be solved with Hi-Smart Multivitamins that helps children grow bigger, taller and smarter.

Nutrition expert Niño Singco, during his talk to some 250 participants in Thursday's Jr. NBA coaches clinic at the Montaña gym, meanwhile, said food supplementation is also important in growing children.

"Nutrition is a big factor why most Filipino kids are not as tall or as big or as we want them to be. Most are neither malnourished nor underweight. It really depends on what they eat. Food supplements like multi-vitamins help boost the immune system and at the same time augment what is lacking in the diet," Singco said.

He said zinc and taurine, special components of Hi-Smart, are effective in enhancing growth. (MLSA)