EARVIN-ACE Lacsamana is in pursuit of a dream that he had ever since he was a child: to play professional basketball in the Philippines.
The 24-year-old Lacsamana applied for the PBA D-League draft recently where he was picked in the fifth round by Wangs Basketball. In that bid, however, he gave up a lot in Canada where he was born and raised to Filipino parents.
Lacsamana already had a stable job after playing college basketball in Canada for Champlain Saint-Lambert in Montreal. But his dream to become a professional cager, particularly a player in the PBA, never wavered.
It was then when he gave up his current job as a medical technologist, a work that is in line with being a cytogeneticist.
“It was a big decision for me to come here. I had my career back in Canada and I was making a good living. But in the back of my head, I always knew that God had a bigger plan for me. I started playing ball at the age of six and always had a dream of playing professionally," he said
“I knew what kind of future I was going to have in Canada with my career, but I did not want to settle for that. I believe that we only have one life and some doors won’t be kept open forever. I did my research about playing in the Philippines and I knew it wasn’t too late for me to realize my childhood dream. There was still hope. So I gave everything up in Canada to pursue playing basketball here,” added Lacsamana.
Lacsamana admitted he took a break from basketball for three years due to what he described as “some challenges in life.”
“But now I am 100 percent back, focused, and ready to make a name for myself,” said Lacsamana.
One of the persons that helped that option of playing professional basketball open for him was PBA legend Allan Caidic, who is incidentally the childhood friend of Lacsamana’s father Zaldy.
Caidic said he was very willing to help Lacsamana in his shot at his basketball dream.
“Parang pamangkin ko na rin. Nagpatulong sa akin. So I asked the help of Danny (Espiritu). Luckily, na-pick naman siya sa fifth round ng Wangs,” said Caidic.
Caidic said he is looking to give back to an aspiring cager, having recalled his route to college basketball when he was recruited by University of the East in the 1980s.
“Nung araw, ganun din ako nagsimula. Padrino rin kaya nakasali sa college team. Just giving it back. Ako naman ang mag-recommend. Kapag nagustuhan ng coach, well and good,” said Caidic.
Caidic, however, made it clear he is not out to influence the team to put Lacsamana in the final roster, as it is for him to work hard for his spot.
“Sabi ko naman sa bata, it’s really up to him. Kami, we are just here to help and facilitate. Pero it’s up to you to work for your spot sa team. Hindi porket rinecommend or close sa akin, kailangan makuha," he said.
“It’s up to him. Binigyan ko lang siya ng konting tulong or channel. Thankful naman ako sa Wangs, hopefully, ma-lineup siya,” added Caidic.
Lacsamana is actually a two-sport athlete, having played competitive baseball for 10 years as a pitcher. But it was in basketball that he found his niche. He even played for Team Quebec in provincial competitions for two years including in 2009 where they won in the Canada Games.
He also won MVP awards and All-Star team selections in different leagues in Canada.
Caidic sees a potential in Lacsamana.
“He plays the two, three, and four. Ang problema lang sa kanya, medyo na-layoff siya ng a year. May shooting touch, maganda katawan, kulang lang konti sa agility based sa analysis ko,” said Caidic.
To help improve his game, Caidic said he enrolled Lacsamana to Ginebra skills coach Kirk Collier.
“May one-on-one workout siya sa kanya para ma-recover ‘yung nawala,” said Caidic.
Knowing that he is an unknown to casual basketball observers, Lacsamana is out to prove himself that he is capable of making a name in the Philippines.
“I understand that I am an unknown or a stranger to everybody but I plan on changing that,” he said.
Wherever his pursuit leads him, Lacsamana said he is thankful and fortunate to have Caidic guide him through his bid to become a professional basketball player.
“Tito Allan has been like an uncle to me and has helped me a lot through this process. He wants me to play the game I know how, be confident, aggressive, stay focused, stay positive and pray a lot,” said Lacsamana.