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4 College Players Turned PBA Rookies Reveal How They're Dealing With The Pressure

Manganti, Tolentino, Soberano, and Wong want to make their mark
IMAGE INSTAGRAM/a_moneyy3, wcspm

Of the over 70 aspirants in last year’s PBA draft, only a fourth made it to the cut. As the 45th season of the PBA opens in less than a week, the rookie signees who've earned a slot in their respective teams now must hit the ground running to keep up with the professionals.

The tension’s all good, as the competitive spirit of the young and active bunch is fueled by the healthy pressure they put on themselves as they make their PBA debuts. Here's how four of them are dealing with it.

Adrian Wong

Fresh off the Blue Eagle’s nest, Adrian Wong has one thing in his mind: to play quality minutes for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters as he aims to establish a good impression during his rookie year.

“The best that I can offer is for the Rain or Shine is my team defense and my shooting. I’m really excited because it’s my rookie year, and it’s just going to come by so I have to make the most out of it and enjoy each moment,” he shared with SPIN Life during the PBA Media Day at Okada Manila Hotel, Pasay.

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The former Ateneo player skipped his last playing year in the UAAP to fulfill his dream of playing in the Filipino professional league. Coupled with the trust he's feeling from his team, he's more motivated than ever to make a statement in his first season.

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“It’s really more of my teammates helping me out during the whole process. [They had] the utmost confidence in me, especially our coaches. This confidence just helps me stay composed and calm. Knowing that they have confidence in me brings out confidence in myself,” he added.

Sean Manganti

On the side of the gritty North Port Batang Pier, Sean Manganti promises to bring to the court a tough playing attitude. From there, he said, the rest will follow.

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Throughout his collegiate career, Manganti has established a rep as one of the bright spots in last year's Adamson Falcons, the high-flying dunker in a team that, in 2019, missed its first Final Four outing in four years.

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He said: “This may sound weird but I can give [North Port] my whole heart. I’m going to go out and just give it my all because I take pride in that — I know that if I give my heart, I’m doing everything. In fact, my teammates and coaches don’t really make me feel any pressure. They’re making me feel at home, they give me my freedom.”

Arvin Tolentino

Slotted in a team loaded with vets, the fresh legs of Arvin Tolentino might be an advantage for the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, especially when he pulls off his offensive plays.

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“Di ko pa masyado alam ‘yung role namin sa team," the Far Eastern University grad admitted. "Knowing myself, I can shoot from the outside, floor-spacing, may kaya din akong gawin.”

Although highly anticipated to deliver as part of a multi-awarded team, 6-foot-5 Tolentino has learned to shrug off external pressure and only focus on what matters the most for him: the drive coming from his new team.

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“High expectations with this team and with the fans din, pero the only pressure in my part, is ‘yung good pressure within the team. Lagi sila nagbibigay ng tips, nagtutulungan.”

AC Soberano

Fast-paced plays and a consistent performance could perhaps be AC Soberano’s best contribution to the dynamic NLEX Road Warriors.

The former San Beda University guard revealed that he’s not expecting much from his rookie year, but he’s eager to give more for his team.

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“Sobrang excited lang ako. Tiyaga and trabaho pa talaga para makakuha ng break. Ibibigay ko best ko especially sa outside shooting ko, kasi kailangan din talaga nila,” he said.

The rookie was quick to make his presence felt during the preseason tournaments of NLEX, especially with a 12-point performance against Korea University on early February.

After several months of training with the team, 5-foot-11 AC shared that he’s already observing his personal growth, right in time for the PBA All-Filipino conference.

He added: “Mas lalo pang tumaas ‘yung knowledge ko sa decision-making sa court. Sobrang dami kong natutunan sa mga veterans, lalo na ‘yung pagiging hard worker nila, and very approachable attitude."

This story originally appeared on Spin.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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Kate Reyes for Spin.ph
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Katherine Go 2 days ago

Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

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