Covering the UAAP Season 77 is a breather for me since I’ve been a PBA writer for Spin.ph for the past two years.
Pinch-hitting for our resident UAAP writer Reuben Terrado, who is currently covering the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, my first college game for this season was the knockout match for the no. 4 spot between National University and the University of the East last Saturday (Sept. 20) at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Though both teams turned the ball over more than 50 times combined during the do-or-die contest, what I really like about college basketball is the pure passion of just playing the game.
In a college basketball game, you’d see players dive for the loose ball.
There are the front-court players banging bodies as they jockey for position in the shaded lane. Then, there’s a defensive player trying to “shadow” his man in an “eye-to-eye” encounter.
The cheering squad and the beat of the drums, also add to the drama and excitement.
And of course, coaches from opposing teams giving their all-important pep talk in the most important game of their season.
College players we see from the UAAP, the NCAA, among others, represent the future of Philippine basketball.
Just think about the big-name players of the PBA today: James Yap and Mark Barroca (San Mig Super Coffee), Calvin Abueva of Alaska, Rain or Shine’s Paul Lee, San Miguel Beer forward Arwind Santos, Talk ‘N Text’s Jason Castro and Greg Slaughter of Barangay Ginebra, just to name a few.
Collegiate leagues serve as the “breeding ground” of the future PBA stars and national players, where players acquire the skills, learn the fundamentals, and build the character needed to have a sustained professional career.
Hopefully, today’s college players will continue to cultivate the attitude of a “learner”, listening to their coaches and mentors, and treating their inputs and pieces of advice as “nuggets of wisdom” that could serve as their guide in their pursuit for a fruitful professional basketball career.