Racela nephew Cholo Anonuevo a slam dunk as Baby Tams' breakout star in UAAP 82

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jan 28, 2020 02:59 PM
Racela nephew a slam dunk as Baby Tams' breakout star
(Photos courtesy of UAAP)

For the third game in a row in the UAAP 82 Boys Basketball Tournament, Cholo Anonuevo had for himself a thunderous throwdown.

"Crazy. All of those were just in the system," he answered when asked about the highlight reel he has been putting together. "I'm just thankful for my teammates for finding me."

The more important streak, however, was Far Eastern University-Diliman's 10th consecutive victory following a season-opening loss.

That win claimed for them a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round - and in that win, Anonuevo proved he was much more than thunderous throwdowns as he stuffed the stat sheet with six points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, five steals, and a block.

For the 18-year-old, he is just playing his game. As he put it, "I try to involve everyone on the team. Basketball kasi, you can't play it by yourself."

After all, everyone on the team played their part for Anonuevo to have a worry-free transition from Ireland. "I didn't really get homesick when I transferred here. My teammates and coaches, they really helped me adjust," he said.

Before donning the green and gold, the 6-foot-4 forward had been showcasing his skills in Dublin and was actually part of pool for the national youth team.

Unfortunately, he fell short of making the cut. "Originally, I was in the national team din, pero hindi ako na-final 12. That was really hard for me kasi gusto ko talaga dun sa Ireland," he shared.

He then continued, "But my mom told me there are other options. She told me to give it another try sa Philippines."

As luck would have it, Anonuevo's mother is related to the wife of Nash Racela, active consultant for the FEU program. "We're very close po talaga and Coach Nash offered to help me try out sa FEU," he recalled.

He then continued, "Tinry ko nga po and then nagustuhan ko naman."

And so, the Ireland-born and bred teenager flew to the Philippines and started suiting up for the Baby Tamaraws in 2018.

Then, he was already in the regular rotation but only put up per game counts of 5.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals in 22 minutes while taking a backseat to the likes of RJ Abarrientos and Xyrus Torres.

Now, however, Anonuevo is the Diliman-based squad's unquestioned most improved player, posting per game counts of 9.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 2.0 steals in 27 minutes. "The difference is I have a bigger role to play. I don’t put pressure on myself naman, but if my team needs me to go all-out, then I will," he said.

He then continued, "The FEU program is really good. Last year, I played more inside, but this year, they made me more of a stretch big and it's better for me."

With that, the do-it-all wing is only hopeful to continue charging with the very program that gave him a break. "I hope I can continue in FEU. Focused on this season muna, pero if I had a choice, I still want FEU," he said as he winds up his second and final season in the UAAP Jrs.

Whatever happens moving forward, Anonuevo is just certain that he made the right decision in moving from Ireland to the Philippines. "No regrets. No regrets po talaga," he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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