By Joan Ko
Nowadays, student-athletes have become celebrities in their own right. We see them hustling in the basketball court, guesting in primetime television, and gracing covers of countless magazines, but we still have that tinge of curiosity to know more about them. Who are they, really?
As the 82nd season of UAAP commences, everyone is looking forward to cheer on the players who are dead set in bringing their A-game in the arena. But while their respective universities and fans gear up to rally behind them, these promising sportsmen confess they’re more than hoops and alley-oops.
Whether it’s sharing deep-seated inspirations, pursuing other passions, or setting sights on future endeavors, Chalk rounds up eight of UAAP 82’s best to settle the real score in an exclusive interview.
Let’s start the ball rolling as these cagers prove that there is more to them than meets the eye.
Ricci Rivero (University of the Philippines)
Well-known for having a hand in his former team’s championship title back in Season 79, this ace player is no stranger to the UAAP court. And, as if that’s not enough to convince you that he’s a go-getter, Ricci also models, hosts, and acts.
“I’m really into something new kasi that’s why I really tried doing things that excite me the most,” Rivero said, then added “So ‘yun, sobrang na-enjoy ko lang din na may ginagawa akong ibang bagay besides basketball.”
This baller’s extensive resume can speak for itself and it seems there is no stopping him from chasing other ambitions just yet. After serving his one-year residency, Rivero is looking forward to represent University of the Philippines in his highly anticipated comeback. [READ MORE HERE.]
Isaac Go (Ateneo de Manila University)
If you still typecast athletes as all brawn and no brain, then you have yet to meet Ateneo’s Isaac Go. Standing at six-foot-seven, the towering B.S. Management student majoring in Applied Chemistry is known as a model student. He even earned himself a first honor distinction just last year.
“How I approach things is really…I have to see first what I need to do and what I want to do. I’d always try to accomplish what I need to do first and then if there’s some extra leeway, extra time, then I would do the things that I wanted to do,” he readily shared, when asked how he balances athletics and academics.
After five years, he admits that he will miss the UAAP community—the ‘warm support’ and ‘family feeling’—among many things as he takes his leave. It might be Isaac’s final playing year but it feels like it won’t be the last time we would see the Atenean. [READ MORE HERE.]
Jordan Bartlett (De La Salle University)
This Green Archer is a multi-sport athlete. Alongside basketball, Jordan admitted that he grew up trying various sports like football, swimming, gymnastics, track, baseball, and lacrosse, to name a few.
He shared that sports taught him so many values that he embraces off the court, from establishing leadership skills and creating meaningful relationships. “Beyond that, basketball gave me the platform I needed to inspire people off the court. Because of this game, I have a voice and the ability to give back to the underprivileged.”
Being the Executive Director of PUSO (Purposeful Unconditional Service to Others) Foundation in the Philippines, Bartlett doesn’t shy away from wearing his heart on his sleeve with his philanthropy. The 22-year-old’s passion definitely knows no bounds.
Renzo Subido (University of Santo Tomas)
Renzo enthused over the fact that he was exposed to the sport early on thanks to his dad, Henry Subido, who was a UAAP player himself. “Since my dad loves playing basketball when I was young, puro basketball talaga nasa house. Doon ako nahilig.”
He started playing soccer when he was six years old but eventually moved on to basketball when he turned eight. Now on his final UAAP season, the veteran Growling Tiger has his eyes on the prize, that is the championship crown.
Wendell Comboy (Far Eastern University)
Right after elementary, Comboy tried his luck and experienced rejection from the high school team of Far Eastern University. Hot on the heels of his first attempt, he attended a basketball clinic to hone his skills. A year after, he earned his spot in the team.
Inspired by his father’s generous heart for the community, the proud Tamaraw and aspiring public servant dreams of paying it forward and helping the disadvantaged youth. If given the opportunity in the future, Wendell opened up about focusing on giving out-of-school children a holistic education.
David Ildefonso (National University)
Following in the footsteps of his father Danny Ildefenso, who he admits is his idol, David is ready to prove that he is in a league of his own.
Just like a regular nineteen-year-old, he likes playing computer games in his spare time but reiterates that his studies and basketball are his top priorities.
“It’s better than going out and having other vices. But you still can’t afford to lose so much time in playing [games] because there’s so much to do out there. You can study more. You can learn more about the world. You can learn more about your friends, learn more about yourself.”
Philip Manalang (University of the East)
The Red Warrior describes himself as a real-life point guard, exuding the same values when he’s not in the court. “[Yung leadership] hindi ko lang sa mga teammates ko nagagawa, hindi lang sa basketball. Pati rin kasi sa mga mas bata kong kapatid parang naa-apply ko sa kanila.”
Aside from their gameplay, Philip shares that his team’s brotherhood outside the court is something that he is extremely proud of. He revealed that his co-players share each other’s problems just like real brothers. [READ MORE HERE.]
Jerrick Ahanmisi (Adamson University)
When he’s not in the court as “The Sniper”, a moniker he gave himself, this athlete is busy doing his vlogs to give other people a different perspective about him and his life outside the basketball court. He quips that his teammates enjoy being part of his videos and are in full support with his vlogging.
In the true spirit of a Soaring Falcon, the high-flier says that he’s usually unbothered when somebody says something negative or hateful about him. “They’re only gonna say those stuff so that they can lift themselves up. So when somebody really says that, I just don’t really listen to it. I don’t really mind it.” [READ MORE HERE]
These eight basketeers are definitely forces to be reckoned with. Between breaking records and establishing goals, these guys have raised the bar and have barely scratched the surface. Sure, we now know a few new things about them but there’s a lot more to uncover as the UAAP Season 82 officially kicks off.
Photographed by Miguel Alomajan
Creative Direction by Madel Asuncion
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Styled by Ryuji Shiomitsu
Grooming by Muriel Vega-Perez and team
Video by Lui Jimenez, Produced by Deiniel Cuvin
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