While the NBA’s best and brightest stars were participating in the annual NBA All-Star Weekend, a rising Filipino basketball player was close by trying to make a name for himself. 

Andy Gemao was one of 40 high school players to make it to the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders Global camp. Gemao has actually participated in the Asian leg of the Basketball Without Borders camp, but being in the global camp has put him with the best of the best. Now on its eighth edition, the camp is a gathering of the best youth-level players from all over the world, with the likes of All-Stars Shai Gilegeous-Alexander and Lauri Markkanen among the camp’s notable alumni. AJ Edu and Kai Sotto also attended the camp back in 2018 and 2020, respectively. 

In the camp, Gemao was immersed in coaching from the likes of former NBA pros Joakim Noah and Detlef Schrempf. He also got the chance to play with and against some of his peers, who will likely enter the NBA in the coming years. Scouts were also in attendance so they will likely have assessments on him in the next few days. 


Regardless of what happens next, Gemao being invited to the league’s annual camp for the best youth players is a great sign. The former Letran Squire left the Philippines back in September 2023 to join Veritas Prep, an opportunity that was both exciting and a dive into the unknown. Snippets of Gemao’s exploits have made rounds in the internet, and while he’s not a surefire lottery pick at this point, he should already be in the conversation of scouts in attendance in his games. 

Gemao has scored in a variety of ways, although his dunks and layups have featured heavily in highlight reels. Meanwhile, he’s been a menace on defense, pestering guards and rarely getting blown by. 

Gemao reportedly turned down offers to return to the Philippines for college (at least for now), a wise decision because a return to the Philippines at this point would stunt his growth. He’ll likely dominate if he did return and all the praises and accolades will likely be showered upon him. However, what he needs right now is to play against bigger and more talented competition. Not only will it tell him where he is right now, but it will also make facing competition in the Philippines much easier. 

Moreover, unlike the others, Gemao has a smaller group with him, so there aren’t too many cooks in the kitchen who could scare off potential teams that would just want him and his talent (and not the extra baggage). 

Andy Gemao’s participation in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders Global camp this year is a testament to this growth in his current stint with Veritas Prep. No doubt he’s made strides over the last five months or so, but being overseas has done him more good than pretty much anything he could have done here locally for his long-term development.