Overlooked constant for Red Cubs? Abu Hijleh’s leadership
EVERYTHING IS ALL RIGHT. Sam Abu Hijleh has always been among the best, if not the best, leaders in all of the high school ranks.
San Beda High School has won seven of the last eight championships in the NCAA.
And in the past two years, they have done it with no clear-cut so-called star.
After the graduations of blue-chip recruits Arvin Tolentino and Andrei Caracut, the Red Cubs have been banking on total team effort to re-assert their dominance.
Still, total team effort needs a leader – and fortunately for the Rizal-based squad, they have one of the better ones in Sam Abu Hijleh.
Apparently, Abu Hijleh took on that burden for himself right from the get-go. “Coach JB (Sison) talked to me nung una pa lang kung kaya ko raw bang mag-team captain. Sabi ko, yes, bakit naman hindi kasi ako na rin naman pinaka-senior,” he shared.
And so, the now 18-year-old’s leadership of the Red Cubs commenced.
And under that leadership, no-star San Beda has won anywhere and everywhere it competed in – from NCAA to PCBL and from Filoil to NBTC. “I need to lead by example. Kung tama gagawin ko lagi, yun din yung susundan nila,” he said.
That leadership is what Abu Hijleh is looking to bring into the Seniors even as he works on his shooting and dribbling. Standing at six-foot-three, he is well aware that he will be forced out of the center position he has been playing at for a while now.
Nonetheless, he may lack size once he gets there, but the Red Cubs’ captain will always have his voice. “Ako yung nag-captain ng seven-peat champions. Mabigat nang mapanghawakan yun,” he said.
That doesn’t mean that he’s not working on those other things, however. As he shared, “Last year kasi, zero dribbling ako and more on power. Ngayon, feeling ko kaya ko nang makapagbaba ng bola.”
He then continued, “Tapos magpapayat, magpabilis na lang. Kayang-kaya naman yun.”
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