IT is not Ola Adeogun's fault that he looks menacing.
But that doesn't mean the native of Lagos, Nigeria has no feelings.
After the 'monkey' taunting incident with the San Sebastian volleyball team in 2011 that led to a brawl involving San Beda players and coaches, Ola admitted he almost went back home.
"Nasaktan ako sa ginawa nila sa akin. And I wanted to go home because I missed my family. Buti na lang si coach Benjie (Paras) took me under his wings. He taught me to turn the other cheek," said the marketing major, who also credits his former coach Frankie Lim and wife Olen for making him feel at home.
A rare breed among mostly spoiled 'student imports,' Adeogun has taken the Pinoy culture to heart. The hulking San Beda slotman speaks fluent Tagalog - something we rarely see in the many Fil-foreigners who have found a fortune in their motherland by playing hoops.
Since the 2011 incident, Ola had to withstan constant ridicule of opponents and fans alike. He dismisses each incident as merely a way to take his focus away from the game. Everytime he gets the, "Ang Pangit Mo" insult from opposing players, he simply replies with, "Ikaw Na Ang Pogi."
But then came the infamous 'banana taunt' from a utility man of the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns in the PBA D-League, which to this day the PBA Commissioner's Office hasn't acted upon.
The incident opened an old wound in Ola, who nonetheless pretended he wasn't affected by the classless act as he went about his business on the court.
"Kunyari na lang I wasn't affected. Kaya bumalik na lang ako sa San Beda at nag-practice ako mag-isa so I can take my mind off it," he said. "Sa basketball court ko po kasi nahahanap ang inner peace ko. Masakit pero there are things we have no control over."
So the next time you come across this menacing-looking young man, don't be afraid. As the famous movie quote goes: "There is more than meets the eye".
"The real character of a person is what is inside," he said. "So I hope people don't judge a book by its cover. I always try to stay positive kahit ano nangyayari."