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BEN BORJA BLAZING A TRAIL

Big Ben Borja Jr. has relocated to Portland, Oregon and has committed ample time to improving his basketball game. Borja was a rising star on Guam and GSPN takes a look back on how the former Bulldog made his way.

By Michael Cruz

Ben Borja, Jr’s. basketball journey started on Guam in the sixth grade. He was originally a baseball player and now basketball has become his sport of choice. His father Ben Borja Sr. was also a great basketball player. Borja Jr’s. high school career started on the junior varsity as a freshman and he helped them grab the IIAAG championship in 2013. His sophomore year was his first on varsity with the Okkodo Bulldogs.

First Trip to Oregon

Borja Jr. had the opportunity to visit his half-brother Kea Colburn. Colburn is a Southern High alum and former high school basketball player and the brothers are 17 years apart. Colburn moved out to Oregon right after high school and established a successful life. The brothers were able to reunite after years apart. Borja Jr. had a free workout at the Hoop 360 basketball facility and attended the Les Schwab Classic as a spectator. He had an opportunity to meet Jahlil Okafor, the number one center in high school and now current Duke basketball player.

Return to Guam

Borja Jr. returned for the third quarter at Okkodo and was named the starting center for the defending champions. His debut started with 16 point, six rebound, three block and one steal in a win over St. John’s. He contributed in two close victories over the JFK Islanders. Then, the Bulldogs placed sixth in the Far East tournament and lost the third meeting with JFK 50-47. His defense shined as the GSPN staff all selected him as the defensive anchor of the league. His eight blocks versus Guam High was sensational.

Bulldogs’ Ben Borja was a defensive force all 2014 season long. (GSPN file photo)

Bulldogs’ Ben Borja was a defensive force all 2014 season long. (GSPN file photo)

The playoffs started with a 56-42 win over Southern. Borja Jr. had 11 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks. He had an eight block performance again versus Guam High to help Okkodo advance to the finals. The Bulldogs lost a defensive battle versus the FD Friars in the championship game 37-35. Borja Jr. ended the season being selected First Team All-Island. He finished off his sophomore year and helped Okkodo win their first boys volleyball title.

Back to Oregon

Borja Jr. made the decision to return to Oregon this past June. He started devoting 20 plus hours per week to basketball. He started with attending a basketball camp and working out at Hoop 360. Borja Jr. made a good impression at the camp and was selected by Coach Kumbeno Memory to the I-5 Elite AAU team. He had the opportunity to play in four AAU tournaments, which included the Bigfoot Classic in Las Vegas.

Borja Jr. considered returning to Guam. He decided though to play his final two years in Oregon. He found a school and will attend Southridge High School which plays 6A (largest classification in State). Borja Jr. has taken college path courses and will look to pursue admission into the school’s International Baccalaureate program. The goal is to be challenged more on the court and in the classroom. His ball handling and outside shooting has improved. He enjoys being a role model to his nephew Keallum Colburn.

Good luck on your journey Big Ben!

Athletic Profile

Age: 16

Height: 6’6 without shoes

Weight: 200 lbs.

Wingspan: 6’9

Vertical: 27.5 inches

Classification: Junior

Position: Post and wing

High School: Southridge High

City: Beaverton, Oregon

Writer’s notes: Kea Colburn and Arnold Mesa have been friends since high school. Both of their sons Keallum Mesa and Jordan Mesa play on the same U11 AAU team. Check out youtube links below to see more on Ben, Keallum, Jordan, and Isaiah. 

https://www.youtube.com/user/JordanMesa1/videos

https://www.youtube.com/user/hcsm6v/videos

 

 

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