Guess which former Adamson player is now the most wanted Uber driver
Barry Viloria on Nov 18, 2016 01:49 AM
Remember San Marcelino star Jeff Olalia? The ex-UAAP heartthrob has a new sideline apart from modeling. (Photo courtesy of Olalia)
Former Adamson Soaring Falcon Jeff Olalia is feeling kilig for two reasons.
He first shows a trace of this feeling as he pulls out his iPhone from his pocket. He personally uses a Samsung phone, but this is his “work phone,” one he’s been in the past six months for his new “sideline.” He then opens an app and punches the screen more to lead us to a tab showing some remarks of feedback from some strangers.
‘Handsome, nice, entertaining, caring, gentleman, hot driver. Who knows how to make his passenger feel safe.’ ‘Great handsome Uber driver.’ ‘So gwapo according to my pamangkins… Hahaha!’ ‘Grabe bro… ang gwapo mo pramis! Artista ka ba?’
He finally scrolls to the most roof-raising of them all, “Ito, ‘Let’s drink soon!”” We then burst into a laugh. “Nakakatuwa, no? Syempre, may mga passengers na mga makukulit. Yung iba nagpapa-picture.”
The app is Uber Partner, and the remarks came from some of his riders. Olalia hesitates at first to reveal this new part-time job of his, but proceeds anyway.
“Nag-u-Uber na rin ako. Usually, pag wala akong (modeling) raket, ito yung ginagawa ko,” he says with his signature smile, which reminded us of his status as Adamson heartthrob and hotshot of yesteryears.
It’s been a relatively long while for Olalia, who graduated from the squad in 2013. The 5’11” player used to be an on-court hot property of San Marcelino, ever since junior league when he bagged the Rookie of the Year plum and continuing his efforts in boosting his Alma Mater’s basketball squad in the seniors league from Season 71 to 75. Olalia played out his collegiate years, leaving the UAAP with the likes of Alex Nuyles and Eric Camson on his final year.
Olalia still remembers, though. Then a promising shooter from Adamson, the Pampanga native broke his right forearm at a practice game to spoil his basketball dreams. The accident dislocated his shooting hand, causing then-Coach Leo Austria to reduce his playing time in the next games that came.
“Naglaro pa rin naman ako. Nasa lineup pa rin ako pero parang pag tumatagal kasi yung kamay ko, dahil sa injury ko, nangangalay,” he shows his battle-scarred arm.
“Pero natapos ko yung playing years ko. Tapos nag-focus na lang rin ako sa school.”
A (role) model
Olalia took up Marketing first before shifting out to Hospitality Management. Injured and thinking of a fallback apart from basketball, he pushed through with his new course. The hotel or tourism industry suddenly became a goal.
“Course daw ng mga tamad yung course ko! Joke!” he says with a laugh. “Deh, gusto ko din kasi mag work sa hotels or mag-flight attendant.”
But none of that came to be, as Olalia tried out modeling instead. Why not? He had height, a fit bod, good skin, and a baby face to back this career path up. He already had the makings of one being regularly featured in magazines as a “UAAP heartthrob,” and so it became easier for him to eventually choose this track.
“Actually, kaya ako napasok sa modeling noon eh kasi yung tropa kong si Rigor Gorospe, nanalo siya ng WCOPA (World Championship of Performing Arts) sa Hollywood. Noong bumalik siya dito sa Pilipinas, lagi ko siyang kasama. Noong nag-college ako, saka ako nag-try sa modeling.”
WCOPA is an international affair for singers, musicians, dancers, actors, and models. After emerging as “Model of the World” at WCOPA 2013, Olalia’s friend Gorospe signed with talent company Monaco Models and Casting Agency. This then encouraged the former basketball to enlist himself, too.
But modeling later proved to be the opposite of the glitz and glam that it is usually portrayed as, says Olalia. It’s not just about the at-least-thrice-a-week gym sessions to keep his physique in check, he also has to get enough sleep and follow a strict diet. Honestly, he declares, the lifestyle could get more demanding than that of an athlete.
“Kailangan mong gastusan yung sarili mo eh, kailangan mong maging best sa sarili mo,” he says. “Nung nasa school pa talaga ako, hindi talaga ako nag-di-diet kasi kailangan namin may laman tiyan namin eh, kasi kailangan may pang-burn kami. Hindi mo kasi makakaya pag kaunti lang yung kinain mo sa practice, mahihilo ka. Ngayon, iba. May supplements din (akong iniinom) ‘tapos kumakain more ng veggies at less sa kanin.”
“Mahirap din makipag-competition sa modeling, eh. pinasok na rin ng mga foreigners gaya ng mga Brazilians. Yung mga Pinoy nawawalan ng trabaho,” he sighs.
But so far, modeling has been good to Olalia, if you ask him. In his around two years in the business, he has done a print ad for a car brand and a condominium. He also reveals he’s been starring in promotional videos for some brands. The rest of his portfolio is filled with photo shoots and runway opportunities.
Still a Falcon
Olalia started with his Uber sideline just recently, after he and his Kuya decided to make some extra cash out of this innovative driving service. For the unfamiliar of the modeling world, the castings and projects don’t come as often to models. Thus, it’s just practical for some to find a day job or at least a sustainable part-time job. Uber became Olalia’s next resort—preferring to brave traffic-stricken roads during daytime.
“Mas madalas may sumasakay nang umaga tapos okay din kasi may surge,” he notes. “Minsan, masarap rin mag-drive nang gabi, pero nadedelikaduhan din kasi ako. Minsan kasi yung umuuwi ang lalayo, eh, idadaan ka sa mga eskinita na madidilim kaya kinakabahan ako. Gusto ko yung safe pa rin, yung maliwanag pa rin kahit traffic.”
While he gets by as a model and an Uber driver, Olalia is honest enough to say he still feels sorry for his other dream at times.
“Sobrang nakaka-miss ang basketball, parang frustrated ako eh, frustrated basketball player ako, eh.”
“Dahil kasi sa injury ko. Iyon talaga yung pangarap ko, maging professional basketball player. Noong elementary nga iyon ‘yung sinusulat ko na gusto ko paglaki ko, eh. Siguro hindi rin naman masama na napunta rin ako sa basketball talaga, kahit papaano natupad na rin yung pangarap ko kasi UAAP, eh big rin naman ‘yon dito sa Pilipinas.”
Olalia is not settling, though, as he plans to do something more in terms of his showbiz career. Acting? Yes, this Piolo Pascual fan still dreams, he says.
Despite what became of his hoops career, Olalia isn’t feeling all bitter about it. A good reason is his former team taking flight once again in the UAAP. After 2011, Adamson is relishing a spot in the Final Four and currently in third seed with FEU. This, after DLSU’s former UAAP championship architect Franz Pumaren got on board this season as the San Marcelino squad’s new coach.
Olalia gives his insights of Adamson’s new—and, for him, apparently effective—coach.
“Ongoing process pa rin sila, eh. Pero ang daming nagulat sa Adamson ngayon. Grabe, noong pumasok si Coach, iba eh. Nag-iba yung Adamson. Tignan mo naman yung resulta, grabe ‘di ba? ‘Yon siguro, ituloy lang nila yun work hard nila sa paglalaro. Todo suporta naman yung buong alumni community ng Adamson.”
How far is the former Adamson star willing to support his team? While he hasn’t visited them at the trainings, he does plan to watch the boys take on the Final Four matches. And who else to come with than his teammates?
“Mag-watch kami. Plano ko kasama sina (Rodney) Brondial, Jansen (Rios), Jericho Cruz—si kumpare ko na kinasal na!” he reveals excitedly.
“Good luck sa kanila. Sana kuhanin nila yung championship ngayon na. It’s time!”
Yes, this is the other reason why the former Adamson Soaring Falcon is feeling kilig.