Article by Jaser Marasigan
MANILA, Philippines — Basketball hot shots Ateneo Blue Eagle Nico Salva and San Beda Red Lion Anjo Caram are all set to defend their championship crowns.
The Blue Eagle soars
Ateneo Blue Eagles power forward Nicolas Raymond “Nico” Salva wasn’t really into basketball until his father convinced him to join a basketball training camp when he was four years old. Nico was born to parents who were former University of the Philippines varsity players.
That training eventually developed in him the interest for the sport. He started out with the varsity team of La Salle Greenhills and moved to the San Beda Red Cubs in junior high school. It goes without saying that there, he emerged as the team’s star player.
“In a way, my father brainwashed me,” Nico says. “When I was a kid he would always tell me that when someone asks what I want to be when I grow up, my answer should be, to be a basketball player.”
What goes through your mind during games?
I just try to block out everything that’s happening outside of the court. Hindi ko na napapansin even what goes around the arena, kung ano ‘yung mga sinisigaw ng mga tao. I try to focus on the game. Especially now, being three-peat champions, there’s definitely pressure that we have to win this year. But as much as possible I just take it one game at a time.
Is there a player from your fiercest rival that you admire?
LA Revilla from De La Salle. He’s my best friend, my high school teammate in San Beda. He started playing three years ago until he was diagnosed with diabetes so he wasn’t able to play for two years. Now he’s back. I admire him for his perseverance to get back on track and play again.
What do you consider your biggest achievement so far?
My biggest achievements are the dean’s list, the three-peat championship, and my PCCL (Philippine Collegiate Champions League) MVP award.
What is the worst stereotype that you’ve heard about student-athletes?
That they are lazy, that they don’t go to class, and that they’re stupid. It can’t be avoided so I just try to prove them wrong. Nung second year college ako nag dean’s list ako ng second semester. That’s a way of showing them that I’m not that stereotype student-athlete.
What does it take to be the best basketball player?
You just have to be really committed. You have to be ready to make lots of sacrifices as well. You need to have that drive and that hunger to be the best that you can be.
What’s the best thing about being a Blue Eagle?
Our team is like a family. We really love being with each other. We enjoy each other’s company. We’re a family on and off the court.
Antonio Jose "Anjo" Caram never expected to enter collegiate basketball because of his height.
But he slowly gained confidence as a point guard for the San Beda Red Lions in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). With his quickness and ball handling skills, coupled with hard work, the 5’7’’ Anjo has definitely made his mark in the Red Lion's den.
The Iloilo native was discovered by former PBA player Bong Ravena. The scouting staff of San Beda went all the way to Saint Joseph School in Iloilo City to see how he plays.
“I really want to play for a school here in Manila. It has been my dream since I was a kid. My mother and father were former varsity players at their schools in Iloilo so it’s probably in the genes. I started playing around seven years old until I became part of the varsity team when I was in grade 4,” Anjo relates.
After every team practice, Anjo makes sure to spend extra minutes on the court to practice some more on his own, shooting from different angles. Outside of basketball, he mostly spends his time hanging out with his teammates and focusing on his studies.
In playing basketball, which is more important, the physical built or basketball skills?
There’s really an advantage if you are tall because basketball is really about the height. Pero kung maliit ka, you still have an advantage in terms of speed. You can move faster and quicker. Pero wala naman talaga sa height ‘yan. What’s important are your guts and passion for the sport.
How has basketball changed your life? Basketball is my life. I’ve been playing since I was a kid. I don’t see myself doing anything else. I learned discipline early on because of basketball.
What is the worst stereotype that you’ve heard about student-athletes? That we take our studies for granted. That’s not true.
What if you don’t succeed in basketball? You need to have a stable career and education is important to back you up.
What do you consider your biggest achievement so far? My biggest achievement would have to be bringing pride to San Beda. You make your fellow Bedans happy, you make the community happy. I also made my parents happy and proud. ‘Yun ang pinakamasarap.
What does it take to be the best basketball player? There are ups and downs in basketball, just don’t give up. It is important to have self-discipline and to work hard every single day. You have to be optimistic all the time. ‘Yun din ang advice ng parents ko sa akin.
What’s the best thing about being a Red Lion? Everybody here supports each other in whatever endeavor, either in academics or in sports. There’s brotherhood. You get support from the whole Bedan community and you get recognized for your hard work. Kaya masarap maging Bedista.read full article here
Photos by Reydian Tianero
Styled by James Patrick Diche (Nico)
and Angelo Garcia (Anjo)
Grooming by JC Cantos
Clothes and Accessories from Folded and Hung
Visit Students and Campuses Facebook Page here