In the Philippines, basketball is the #1 sport for both neighborhood and barangay youth, as well as, college varsity and of course The Philippines .Basketball Association (PBA)
Interestingly enough, despite the height-limitations of most-Pinoys, we still love ‘the game’ and are -amongst- the best in the world at playing it. Usually, playing basketball, starts as a young child as a way to have comradery with our peers and to pass the time. Later, if you’re good, during junior and now senior high school, the game can set you apart, teach you valuable team-building lessons and even make you a little cash either in ‘Money Games’ in which players bet among
themselves and/or barangay or neighborhood tournaments.
The inspiration or idols of The Pinoy Player; especially at Varsity-level or higher, are black-American athletes and entertainers. Not merely because of their undying passion for their sport or careers, nor their jaw-dropping skill, but also their highly-inspiring, often ghetto, broken-family, rags-to-riches, underdog success stories. A life, millions –and millions- of Filipinos can directly identify with.
Just like in the black-American communities; in 1950 when the NBA allowed the first black-American to play in the league, basketball –or BBall as they call it- is a ‘way out’ of the often limiting communities in which kids live in. And, it’s a ‘way in’ to college or university with the benefits of Varsity Scholarships and Sponsorships.
PAOLO ANDRES is one of those players. A lead Varsity at STI Colleges’ Balagtas Campus, Andres attributes his success in ‘the game’ and in his life to those who have inspired him, and supported him in his pursuit of his passion: playing
Andres sat down with our Youth-Editor-In-Chief, Paul Carreon after a recent game to give his insights to younger players, just getting started and looking to either make basketball their ‘way out’ of their communities, or their ‘way in’ to a college or university and beyond.
Paul Carreon: How did you get started playing basketball?
“When I was young, I really loved playing basketball. I’d look forward to playing every day…it made me happy. Ultimately, as I grew older…I also grew taller (laughing) and so I became more popular at often 1st pick for teams –and we would win.”
Paul Carreon: How did your family feel about you ‘playing’ every day?
“Luckily for me, my parents, supported and encouraged me to become better and better at the game. Their support is what inspires me to this day. Because they really, truly believed in me; even when I didn’t
believe in myself…such as after losing a game.”
Paul Carreon: What inspired you to keep going, even after defeat or when you experienced inevitable set-backs in your life?
“Honestly, it was my family…my parents. My parent shared my passion for ‘the game’ and saw my potential to take my skills beyond just the barangay court games that kids play. That nurturing allowed me to thrive and brought us closer together.”
Paul Carreon: What advice to you give young kids who aim to be like you…in college, doing what they love?
“Today, there are countless numbers of talented varsity and independent basketball players out here…I am grateful for the support of STI Balagtas, if not for them, and my family, I definitely wouldn’t be here. I may still be on that local court ‘tambay’ every day. My advice is to follow your passion, play hard, and also study, get the brains too. Ultimately, surround yourself with good and like-minded people. And if you’re lucky to have a family like mine who supports your dreams; appreciate them. If you don’t have the support, don’t quit, and don’t envy those who do, just stay focused on your plan.”