Pride of Pandacan Lars Sunga now a big part of Braves’ future

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 01, 2016 08:49 PM
Pride of Pandacan Lars Sunga a big part of Braves’ future
NO MATTER THE DISTANCE. Arellano's close proximity was where it all began for reigning Rookie of the Year Lars Sunga.

Most student-athletes have many considerations on what school and squad they would play for.

For Arellano High School’s Lars Sunga, however, it was pretty simple. As he told ABS-CBN Sports while chuckling, “Arellano kasi malapit lang sa bahay namin e.”

Sunga and his family live in Pandacan, Manila while Arellano High is located in Legarda, Manila.

Turning serious, the 17-year-old said all he and his family were after was the scholarship more than the chance to be part of a varsity team. “’Di na ako nag-tryout sa ibang school kasi gusto nga lang ng magulang ko, mag-varsity para sa scholarship,” he said.

Lars’ father Dom admitted as much in saying, “Yung malibre lang kami sa tuition, malaking bagay na sa amin. Kahit hindi masyado makalaro anak namin, okay lang basta scholar tsaka nakakasama pa rin sa practice.”

Once he was in Legarda, however, the six-foot-two do-it-all forward fell much more in love with the game. “Nalagay na talaga sa puso niya ang basketball,” was how his mother Lea put it.

This was undoubtedly noticed by Braves mentor Tylon Darjuan who gave his do-it-all forward both the time and the trust a season ago. In turn, the latter only repaid the faith of the former en route to winning Rookie of the Year.

Neither Lars or his parents expected that high of a leap for him. “’Di ko talaga akalain na makukuha ko yung Rookie of the Year. Nagsipag lang naman talaga ako,” he said.

For their part, Mr. Sunga said, “Sa lakas ng mga team na kalaban nila, ‘di namin talaga iniisp (and Rookie of the Year).”

Perhaps it should not have come as a surprise for the Sungas because, in his time in Arellano, Lars has only exhibited love for the game and utmost perseverance – a perseverance he found within himself after all that he went through just to get here.

As it turns out, the reigning Rookie of the Year already made the cut with the Braves three years ago before a trivial happening took everything away from him. “Nakuha na siya dati tapos nagpa-mohawk siya, tinanggal siya,” his mother narrated.

She then continued, “Sabi namin, try mo ulit, try lang nang try. Nung si coach Tylon na, nakuha naman ulit siya – Team B muna hanggang ma-lineup na.”

Now he is already making a name for himself, Sunga is no longer content with being just another student-athlete and is confident that he can break through the ceilings of the higher levels of play.

In fact, in just his second-year in the Juniors division, he is already being considered to be a future Chief. “Actually, kinausap na siya ni coach Jerry (Codinera of Arellano U) kasi akala niya, patapos na siya (ng high school). Nagulat si coach Jerry na 17 pa lang siya,” Dom shared while laughing.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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