For three years, Pasaol played basketball to earn for his family

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 12, 2017 07:02 PM
For three years, Pasaol played ball to earn for his family
GAME-WINNER, BREADWINNER. Alvin Pasaol has come a long way from playing in commercial leagues in Davao.

Alvin Pasaol is very close with head coach Derrick Pumaren

Aside from being the main man for University of the East, Pasaol is also, apparently, the inspiration for Pumaren’s newfound fashion sense in the season.

All this is rooted in a relationship that began as intimately as possible as once upon a time, manong went out of his way to recruit his future main man.

As it turns out, however, that relationship wouldn’t have begun if Pasaol didn’t impress somebody else first. “Yung import namin sa commercial league sa Davao, si Charles Mammie. Kinontact niya si manong at sinabi na parang, ‘Manong, may bata rito, ganito, ganyan. Baka gusto mong i-try para sa UE,’” he recalled.

Mammie once played under Pumaren for the Red Warriors.

Asked what he thinks the Sierra Leone native saw in him then, Pasaol answered, “Siguro, the way lang ako maglaro. Kung ano yung laro ko rito, ganun din kasi laro ko doon.”

And so, manong heeded the call of Mammie and flew to Davao.

Still, that personal appearance was no guarantee for a commitment as many others were also eyeing the now 22-year-old. “Marami akong option nun, ‘di lang si manong,” he shared, before saying that Arellano University and Colegio de San Juan de Letran, among others, also expressed interest in him before.

UE’s trump card, however, was the very man who flew all the way to Francis Bangoy International Airport. “Na-impress ako agad kay manong kasi siyempre, sikat na coach. Tapos yung mga teams niya dati, napanood din ng tatay ko,” the prized prospect said.

Even then, Pumaren knew the best way to get to Pasaol. “Pagpunta niya ng Davao, nag-eat all you can kami,” the latter said through chuckles.

That particular meal could have very well been a celebratory dinner for a youngster who worked and worked and worked before the right opportunity finally came along.

Before the offer to suit up for the Red Warriors, the Davaoeno played in commercial leagues to help his family. “Three years po bago ako mag-UE, puro basketball lang talaga ako. Sumali ako sa Gold Star (his commercial team) nung 16-years-old ako tapos nag-earn ako ng pera para sa pamilya ko,” he said.

Pasaol decided to help out in their family finances as his father, a driver, didn’t earn enough for their family of four.

And just so he could do that, he had to sacrifice his studies. “Nag-first year college na ako tapos varsity rin ako dun, pero nag-stop ako pagkatapos naming mag-champion. ‘Di ako nagpatuloy ng pag-aaral kasi ‘di namin kinaya,” he said.

He then continued, “Nag-focus na lang ako sa basketball. Okay lang naman sanang mag-aral pa ako kasi may scholarships naman, pero gusto ko munang tulungan pamilya ko.”

So there in the commercial leagues, he made money to make ends meet. “Kahit konti, nakatulong naman ako sa pangangailangan namin,” he said.

And there in the commercial leagues, he made his name playing against former professional players such as Leo Avenido and John Ferriols.

Now, it’s Pasaol who is well on his way to the pros.

But not before he continues carrying UE for one more year. “Sobrang happy ako sa tinakbo namin ngayon, pero babawi pa kami next year,” he expressed.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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