ANTHONY JOSH ORANI: A Young Achiever’s Quest For Excellence In Sports and Academics

Written By: Zerjosh Serrano and Paul Tamayo


Excelling in one discipline is already a herculean task for many. Any individual aiming for the top has to dedicate a lot of energy, time, and even resources. One has to put in great effort and devotion not only to improve, but rather to excel in order to frame his or her name in the walls of the hall of fame.

The greatest individuals are those who pour their spirit honing their craft, persevere through any obstacles, and continue to challenge themselves to become better. It takes not only days nor months, but years of hard work and discipline to reach the summit.

Remember the name of Anthony Josh Orani. A promising child who set his eyes to not only one, but two contrasting goals. At a very young age, Josh has already dedicated himself in excelling both in basketball and academics.

At the young age of two, Josh was already introduced to basketball by his father, Julius Caesar. Josh quickly developed his love for the game. He did not even fall in love with other sports besides basketball.

“Yung father ko po yung nag-influence sa akin. Mula noong 2 years old ako, binibilhan niya ako ng mga laruang pang-basketball. Minsan sinasabit sa pintuan and minsan nilalabas sa bakuran. Doon po nag-start yung hilig ko sa basketball,” Josh stated.

“Hindi po ako nagkaroon ng interest sa ibang sports. Siguro dahil na din sa father ko. Dati kasi marami sya CDs ng highlights ni Michael Jordan. Lagi ko po yun pinapanood since si Jordan din kasi yung favorite na player ko.”

Josh parents going to every game.

At the age of 5, Josh already had a taste of a real basketball training when he was enrolled by his father at the More Than Winning Basketball camp under Coach BJ Manalo. Josh was able to pick up all the basic skills from the camp and was eagerly motivated by his coach.

Truly, basketball is not only about building your skills, but also developing the right attitude and mindset to go further.

Unfortunately, for some reason, the basketball camp ceased to operate. But not long after, Josh’s uncle, Jayson, gifted him a basketball rim which he constantly used to practice.

“Five years old po ako nung in-enroll ako sa basketball camp. Yung name niya ay More Than Winning Basketball and under kay Coach BJ Manalo. Natutunan ko doon lahat ng basic skills and sobrang na-motivate ako dahil may lessons din after ng practice,” Josh mentioned.

“Kaso nag-close yung camp. Sobrang nalungkot ako. Pero yung uncle ko niregaluhan ako ng basketball rim. So doon ako nag-tuloy mag-practice. Minsan sa garahe namin nilalagay, minsan naman sa kalye.”


Certainly, there is no stopping a young blood who is in hot pursuit of his dream. Despite his frustrations that his first basketball camp experience was prematurely stopped, another path was paved for Josh to continue his basketball aspirations.

In 2019, when he was still 12 years old, Josh had a date with destiny as he heard about Coach Rob Labagala’s Passion Sports. It so happens that the growing basketball clinic is just a few blocks away from his residence, so Josh gave it a shot.

Josh admitted that he once again started from scratch. He tried to re-learn all the basics, and even learned more complex basketball moves when he got enrolled with Passion Sports. His excitement towards basketball never diminished despite a long hiatus from basketball camps.

What made Josh eve more excited is when he discovered that Coach Rob once played for his most favorite PBA team- Ginebra. For him, it is nothing short of an honor and privilege to learn under a decorated player like Coach Rob.

“Noong 12 years old po ako, narinig ko yung about Passion Sports. Nagkataon na two blocks away lang sa amin yung venue kaya nag-try po ako. I studied the basics again and natuto din po ako ng mas marami pang skills,” Josh stated.

“I look up to a lot of PBA players and teams. Doon ko nalaman na naglaro pala si Coach Rob sa Ginebra, my favorite team. Nakaka-excite na yung nagtuturo sa amin ay dating PBA player. Kung ano yung mga ginagawa niya before noong professional pa siya, tinuturo niya din sa amin.”  

This may not be common to everyone, but at a very young age, Josh already has set his eyes on the prize, or prizes if I may say. Just like many of us, Josh has a goal that one day, he will set his feet on a PBA court.


But he knows that the journey is tough, and he still has to battle for a slot on a prestigious university that is competing on either UAAP or NCAA to make his PBA dream possible. Josh already knows where his heart is, and where he wants to pursue his basketball aspirations while working on his academics.

When I asked him if where he sees himself when he enters college, Josh gave me a direct and clear answer- the University of the Philippines. Well, who can say no to UP. A university known for being one of the best in the country due to its academic reputation and standard, it is almost a no-brainer for Josh, knowing how he also excels in academics.

“I have a dream na makapaglaro sa PBA if I will have the opportunities. I want to be drafted sa Talk ‘N Text, and hoping na makalaro ko pa si Jayson Castro. Sa college, gusto ko sa UP.” Josh stated.

When I said that Josh has already set his eyes on the prizes, I mean it. While he is trying to reach the dream that his father had for him, Josh is already making a name in the field of academics. Josh was a consistent achiever and an honor student during his days at Darwin International School at San Jose, Bulacan.

After finishing his elementary schooling, Josh took a chance of entering Quezon City Science High School. We all know what reputation every Science High School has academically-wise. And Josh was more than grateful to the Lord Almighty when he passed the entrance exam.

“From Nursery to Grade 6 po ako sa Darwin International School, consistent po na matataas grades ko and nasa list ng honor students. Then noong mag-Grade 7 na ako, nag-exam ako sa Quezon City Science High School and I really thank God kasi nakapasa po ako.” Josh stated.

These may make you feel amazed with the kid’s dedication to education, but wait until you see his other achievements.

Josh goes through a series of rigorous basketball regimen, but at the same time, he has to prepare for different competitions. He has three appearances in the Olympiad under his belt. He already competed in Hongkong and Thailand, but the most precious for him is the Philippine International Math Olympiad where he qualified as one of the awardees.

“Nag-training din po ako sa Math and English. Nag-compete na po ako sa Thailand and Hongkong. Then yung isa po ay yung Philippine International Math Olympiad. I was very happy kasi sa PIMO, nakasama ako sa awardees. It was an honor na matawag yung name mo.” Josh stated.

Josh during our Online Training

A kid who has dreams to become a professional basketball player, and on the other hand, would like to become a doctor, Josh knows where his heart is. He would like to devote himself in trying to reach the destination he paves for himself.

“If sakali man na hindi ako magkaroon ng opportunity na maging PBA player, gusto ko maging doctor. Pero if ganoon man yung mangyari, I will always treasure lahat ng natutunan ko sa basketball.”

You may be wondering how an individual like Josh is able to pursue two different disciplines. His answer was simple, yet very meaningful: time management. If you are dedicated and focused on what you want to achieve, you can always find ways to suit yourself.

“I handle my time properly. Since sa school wala ako other extra-curricular activities, pag uwi ko sa bahay mag-ppractice naman ako ng basketball. Syempre naka-focus din ako sa studies.” Josh stated.

Truly, this story is more than having natural gifts and talents. It takes a lot of effort and dedication to pull this thing off. Setting aside all frustrations and disappointments, the great fortitude that a young sprout has will always take him places.

For Josh, both basketball and academics are important and irreplaceable. He is the living testimony that you can excel in both aspects. Besides, he believes that basketball and academics are mutual beneficial to each other.

“Parehong important sa akin yung basketball and academics. I know and I believe na nagagamit ko yung natututunan ko sa basketball like yung discipline and focus sa studies ko. At the same time, yung natututunan ko din sa academics nagagamit ko para ma-enhance yung skills ko sa basketball.”


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