All the way from Ancient Rome: The journey of AdU’s Magbuhos Brothers and UE’s Lucas Cullar to the UAAP

Anton Roxas on Nov 10, 2018 06:07 AM
All the way from Ancient Rome
Vince Magbuhos (L) and Lucas Cullar (R) honed their games all the way in Rome, Italy.

This season, the UAAP is privileged to have a collection of talented brothers playing for the same school unlike any other year before. There are the Nieto twins, Mike and Matt of Ateneo, the Diliman dynamic duo of Javi and Juan Gomez de Liaňo of UP, and of course, the powerful Ildefonso brothers, Shaun and Dave of NU.

While these pairs of brothers have taken the spotlight, there is another brotherly tandem in the league who are quietly making an impact for their university – Wilfrey Jr. and Vince Magbuhos of Adamson.

Playing in the UAAP is a dream come true for the Magbuhos brothers. After all, they’ve come a long way from their place of birth. 10,579 kilometers away to be exact from Rome, Italy. 

In 1991, Wilfrey Magbuhos from Cavite and his wife, Charito from Laguna migrated to the ancient city of Rome for work. The couple bore three children, starting with Natalie who became the older sister of Wilfrey Jr. and the youngest of the brood, Vince. It did not take long for the young Filipino boys to take up basketball, even though it wasn’t as popular in Europe as it is here. 

“Hindi siya ganun ka sikat katulad dito. As in, sikat doon yung soccer. Naimbitihan lang ako ng kaklase ko na Pinoy din na mag try-out sa isang private association ng basketball doon. Nagustuhan din ni Mama na maglaro kami. Doon nagsimula,” shared Vince, who has started 10 of the 12 games for the Soaring Falcons at power forward this season. 

The games for Filipinos in Rome happen every Sunday, organized by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC). It was there where the Magbuhos brothers met their “Kapatid”, Lucas Cullar, who is currently a shooting guard in UE playing in his second season the UAAP. 

Like Vince, Lucas is also the youngest of three children, having two older brothers, Jake and Allen Tristan. Their parents, Nestor and Melinda hail from Batangas and Santa Catalina, Quezon respectively. But, unlike the Magbuhos brothers, Lucas actually got into soccer before playing basketball. He played the beautiful game until he was 13 years old. 

“Nag-soccer muna ako bago mag basketball. Striker yung laro ko dati,” said Lucas.

After several years of playing basketball in Rome, a huge window of opportunity opened for the Magbuhos brothers and Lucas in 2015 when the INC formed a team of Filipinos in Europe for its members, to fly to Manila to play against the local selection. The three boys represented Team Europe and played against a Team Philippines selection that included Maui Cruz of EAC.

During their visit, opportunities to try-out for different schools presented itself. But, it wasn’t easy finding a landing spot. 

“Pababalik-balik kami from Rome to Pilipinas kasi walang school na kumukuha sa amin. Dami rin kaming pinag-try-outan dati. NU, La Salle, UST hanggang sa noong 2016, nag-try-out kami sa UE at kinuha naman kami ni Coach Derrick (Pumaren),” recalled Vince. 

As for Lucas, Arellano and UST were on the table as options but he eventually decided to ask help from his “Kapatid” in the hopes of being able to continue playing together. 

“Kasi nauna ako sa kanya mag-UE nung high school. Sabi niya, kung puwede ko siya tulungan mag try-out,” said Vince. 

Unfortunately, their reunion would become short lived as the Magbuhos brothers decided to transfer to Adamson after learning that Pumaren, the coach who recruited them would be resigning from his post. Lucas opted to stay in Recto and was able to play his rookie season with the Red Warriors last year.

Today, all three INC members from Rome are playing in the UAAP. It’s been a long journey back to the motherland but that just goes to show that game of basketball has the power to bring people together in unity, camaraderie and brotherhood. 

Catch the Magbuhos Brothers, Wilfrey Jr. and Vince and the Adamson University Soaring Falcons play against Lucas Cullar and the University of the East Red Warriors today, November, 10, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. at the Araneta Coliseum with LIVE coverage on S+A, S+A HD and via livestream.

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