LSGH champion guard foregoes basketball for studies in Ateneo

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 13, 2018 07:47 PM
LSGH champion foregoes basketball for studies in Ateneo
Jacob Lao crossed over rivalry lines - not for basketball, but for studies

Joel Cagulangan and Inand Fornilos are still main men while Joshua David and Ladis Lepalam remain as key contributors for College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills in its title defense.

One starter from that championship-winning team, though, is no longer suiting up – as a player, at least.

Starting off-guard Jacob Lao is now part of the coaching staff for the Junior Blazers – just a year after graduating high school.

Last year, he averaged 4.7 points including one triple and 2.8 rebounds. He also chipped in eight points and four rebounds in their title-clinching Game 3 win.

Now, in the ongoing NCAA Season 94, he can be seen huddling with the coaches and handing out advice to the players.

Along with wearing a different uniform inside the court, apparently Lao is now also wearing a different uniform outside the court. – and not just a different uniform, but the total opposite of that which he has been used to wearing.

Asked where he has taken his talents to next, he told reporters with a grin, “Ateneo.”

Yes, the CSB-LSGH champion guard is now studying BS Management in Ateneo de Manila University.

He hasn’t turned into a Blue Eagle just yet, though. “I chose studies this time over basketball because this time, I want to focus on studies muna,” he said.

For Lao, it’s about time that he prioritizes the student aspect of being a student-athlete. “Ang thinking ko kasi talaga is that basketball is not forever. Gusto ko munang i-prioritize yung studies kasi I can adjust naman (if ever) I want to play,” he said.

After all, the son of Frank Lao who owns the Choi Garden line of restaurants will have to be involved in the family business sooner rather than later.

Lao’s decision has the full support of both his family and his former team. “I made the decision (last May), but before I made it, I consulted with everyone from [CSB-LSGH head] coach Marvin [Bienvenida] to my parents. Sabi nila, if tama sa akin, then go,” he said.

And apparently, this decision has been in the works for a long time. “When we won the championship, naisip kong kahit anong mangyari sa Seniors, studies muna ako,” he said.

While he’s walking away from basketball, for now at least, the former Junior Blazers will always have the memories of that first-ever championship they brought home to Ortigas. “More than the championship, it was the brotherhood. Kaya nga I asked coach Marvin kung pwede akong maging assistant kasi ang hirap iwan yung samahan namin,” he said.

And when that time comes that basketball comes knocking on his door anew, Lao said he’s only winning to entertain it. As he put it, “If ever maglaro ako ulit, nandun lang naman yung basketball.”

Perhaps, a visit from Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin just might do the trick?

---

Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

Latest News