The long wait is over for NUís 6-foot-10 center from Senegal

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 02, 2017 02:43 PM
The long wait is over for NUís 6-foot-10 center from Senegal
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE. Issa Gaye had four years to prepare to fill the big shoes of championship-winning Alfred Aroga.

Alfred Aroga has been synonymous with National University’s success in recent times.

Now in the 80th Season of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament, however, the Cameroonian will no longer be clad in blue and gold.

The faithful over at Sampaloc need not worry, though, as their team already has a ready-made replacement – a replacement that has been readying for almost four years.

“Excited. I’m really excited,” new Bulldog big man Issa Gaye expressed. “I waited almost four years to play for NU so now I’m really excited to play talaga.”

Yes, the Senegalese now knows how to speak some Tagalog.

After all, that’s what happens if you’ve been in the Philippines since 2013.

On the advice of his compatriot who went to Ateneo de Manila University, Gaye travelled to Manila to get a degree and, at the same time, get to play basketball.

Despite his eye-popping height of six-foot-10 and long limbs, however, there was no way he was pushing longtime anchor Aroga out of NU’s lineup.

That did not discourage Gaye at all. As he put it, “That’s how I am, I don’t rush things. I knew my time will come one day, that’s why I was so patient.”

He then continued, “I wasn’t frustrated. If I were frustrated, I would leave. Kasi I had my choice to leave because they didn’t tell me I had to wait. I believed I will play so I just waited for my time to come.”

Now, the 20-year-old’s time has come and now, he will be serving as the last line of protection for the Bulldogs’ so-called “chaos.”

And having had four years to prepare, he is nothing but ready and raring. “Of course, I’m gonna give my best. I’m going to play for my teammates, for my school and I’m going to do my job – defending, getting rebounds, blocking shots,” he said.

He then continued, “I will always be in the paint, I promise you.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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