San Sebastianís Justine Mercado, the gentle gwapo
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 05, 2015 07:30 PM
At 6'4", he's a softie and a toughie. (Photos by Vyn Radovan)
Except when he begins to show off his skills on the court, the term “gentle giant” very well applies to San Sebastian Stags center Justine Mercado. His shyness is overflowing, and you can tell it once you chat the 6’4”-tall jock up.
Relatively a little later than the usual, Justine played ball only in high school back in FEU Diliman. By then, he was already playing for the NCR at the Palarong Pambansa. He considers this his most memorable experience as an athlete yet.
His biggest, though, is playing for the NCAA.
“Pangarap ko talaga ang maging player. Kahit dati, pinapanood ko lang sila ‘tapos naging NCAA player ako. Napapanood na rin kami bigla sa TV,” he muses.
Justine’s favorite sports idols are NBA stars Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki. But if he were to play against someone toe-to-toe, it would be Kobe Bryant.
He’s as serious in sports as he can be, always believing in what Coach Rodney Santos (a Stag star back in the day himself) always tells them: “Work hard. Work hard lang lagi.” When a practice game or an NCAA match comes to a close, he immediately goes home straight to the dorms “para magpahinga na.” When it’s not the season, he’s at the court… training.
“Court lang talaga ako lagi,” he laughs.
Justine suddenly breaks his bashful persona when he’s asked about his crush. Or, crushes.
“Jessy Mendiola and Isabel Daza—kasi ang gaganda nilang tingnan ‘tapos sexy pa!” he answers. —Interview by Joshua Homo for Chalk Magazine