Former NCAA Jrs. MVP Estrella’s breakout will have to wait one more year

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 03, 2017 04:51 PM
JRU’s Estrella’s breakout will have to wait one more year
IT'S A VIRTUE. Darius Estrella will have to sit out another year before he can showcase the skills that once made him MVP in the NCAA Juniors.

Jose Rizal University was just about to get a brand new and ideal wingman for top gun Teytey Teodoro.

Swingman Darius Estrella was one of the rising stars in the recently-concluded 2017 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament.

Even head coach Vergel Meneses said so. “’Di na ako nagtataka kung bakit ang ganda ng laro niya. Nakikinig na kasi siya sa akin, naniniwala na siya sa akin kung ano ang weakness niya,” he said.

Indeed, not only was the 20-year-old playing well, he was also listening well to his mentor. As Meneses put it, “Nasanay kasi siguro siya sa Juniors na puro sa kanya ang bola. Matagal ko nang sinabi sa kanya, hindi na ganun dito, sistema na talaga rito.”

Estrella was the centerpiece of JRU High School in the NCAA Juniors Season 88 and parlayed his performance into the Season MVP.

Those individual skills are yet to be seen in the NCAA Seniors, however, and the Heavy Bomber knows very well what he needs to do to improve. “Ngayon, mas naiintindihan ko na yung sistema. Ngayon, mas naiintindihan ko na yung sinasabi ni coach na mag-start muna sa depensa,” he shared.

And Estrella was nothing but raring to truly become Teodoro’s wingman – especially after two years preparing for it. “Sabi ni coach, kailangan ko nang mag-step up lalo na kung si Tey, masama laro,” he said.

After the Rizal native’s rookie season in 2015, he was left out of the roster in Season 92. “Ni-sit out talaga muna ako ni coach para raw makapaghanda ngayong Season (93). Kaya noon, extra work lang talaga,” he said.

Unfortunately, fate had other plans and Estrella suffered an ACL tear in his left knee just three weeks before the opening of NCAA 93.

Rather than be downtrodden, however, Estrella said he will just use his latest setback as even more fuel to his fire – a fire that has been burning ever since he was unable to even come close to the heights he reached as NCAA Juniors MVP.

“God has a purpose and I will be back stronger,” he said. “It will not end here.”

In fact, just a week following his season-ending injury, he already went back to work by lifting weights. “No excuses,” he posted on Facebook.

(Photo courtesy of Darius Estrella)

JRU’s ideal wingman for Teytey Teodoyo isn’t coming any time soon.

But give him a year and maybe, just maybe, he’ll be back stronger indeed.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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