CEBU CITY - The road to stardom has not been easy for University of the Visayas Green Lancer Jan Monic Soliva.
It was in fact a narrow, pothole-filled path that needed every bit of patience and perseverance from the 6-foot-4 forward to get to where he is right now – in the spotlight and on the verge of winning his very first Cesafi crown.
The Green Lancers own the most championships in the league’s colorful 16-year history with 10. However, they have not won one since 2013, hence their relentlessness in their desire to gain back to the throne.
At the front of the pursuit is Soliva, who after scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the series opener had 10 points and 14 rebounds in Game Two, which was enough to give him back-to-back Best Player of the Game citations.
Asked to reflect on the journey so far, the 22-year old said he has indeed come a long way from playing varsity volleyball in high school back in his hometown of Maasin to becoming a hot prospect in basketball's hotbed down south.
“Malayo-layo na rin ang narating ko. Medyo nag-develop na rin ang laro ko. Sana pagpalain pa tayo sa mga susunod na hakbang sa career ko,” shared Soliva in a talk after their practice session on Tuesday night.
Although a standout in volleyball, Soliva chose to take up basketball full-time and soon found himself a new home in the backyard of reigning PBA MVP, June Mar Fajardo, over at the University of Cebu in 2010.
However, he never got to suit up for the Webmasters as academic troubles hounded him during his brief time there.
“Dami kong academic troubles dun. Hindi ako pumasa ng dalawang subject,” shared Soliva with a grin.
Not long after, he landed at UV and debuted during the 2014 season, a disastrous one for the Green Lancers as they failed to advance past the semifinal round. The following year, Soliva found himself on the sidelines once again as academic problems once again resurfaced.
After a year of intense dedication to work, both on the floor and inside the classroom, Soliva regained his spot in the Green Lancers lineup and made the most of his second chance.
“Bunga lang talaga ito ng hard work ng team namin at ng determination na makuha namin ulit yung championship.”