Rod Ebondo sticks to positives as visa issue forced him out of PH Team in Fiba Asia Champions Cup
Rod Ebondo said getting cut from the PH Team due to visa issues was one of the saddest days in his life. Marlo Cueto

ROD Ebondo was saddened he was unable to make the trip to Chenzhou, China to join Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas for the Fiba Asia Champions Cup.

Ebondo didn't make it to Chenzhou as he was unable to secure a visa from the Chinese embassy that would have allowed him to become the second import of Chooks-To-Go in the Fiba Asia Champions Cup.

In an interview on Monday after playing for Centro Escolar University in the UCBL, Ebondo was disappointed he was not able to join the team.

"The Chinese embassy denied me a visa. I got hurt but I just have to move on. I cannot look back anymore at the opportunity that I've missed," said Ebondo.

"One of my saddest day (of my life)," Ebondo added.

Initially, Ebondo said the Chinese embassy granted him a visa only to take it back as he was asked for a certain letter that he will play for the Philippines in the Fiba Asia Champions Cup.

"The Chinese embassy wanted to give me a visa but not that short of a time because I'm not a Filipino. They say I should get a letter and the letter takes 10 days (to be released). The competition is for 10 days," said Ebondo.

Unlike the 6-foot-6 Ebondo, Isaiah Austin was able to secure his Chinese visa after going to Hong Kong to secure it.

"Our team manager went to the Chinese embassy and said it was approved. Then later in the embassy, they changed it because I was a non-Filipino in the group. Me and Zeke (Isaiah Austin), it was hard for us to have the visa in the short time," said Ebondo.

"Zeke was lucky because he didn't need a visa to go Hong Kong. For me, because I'm not American, I also needed a visa to go to Hong Kong."

The 22-year-old Ebondo admitted he has been missing several opportunities in the past being an African passport holder and a Congo national. The chance to play for Chooks-To-Go was no different.

"Holding an African passport wasn't easy since the beginning. I had a lot of opportunity wasted just because I hold an African passport. I just hope in the future, everything is going to be well already so that I can travel and show my talent," said Ebondo.

Ebondo said it was an honor to join the Chooks-To-Go squad as it also motivated him to work even harder thanks to the words of national coach Chot Reyes and the rest of the coaching staff.


"Even during the first day of practice, the national coach, they saw my potential already and they were happy that i can play 2, 3, 4, and 5," said Ebondo.

"For me to be selected in the team was already a big honor for me. It's a very big thing for me to practice with those guys and to help me with my confidence.

"The national coach told me that I'm a good player and I can play multiple position. For me, it was a motivation for my career to keep on working hard and keep on moving," said Ebondo.

Ebondo said his focus now is for CEU where the Scorpions are playing in the UCBL. He is also eyeing to finish his studies this March with a Business degree.

Even though he didn't make it to the team, Ebondo said he wishes the team the best, even sending messages through Carl Bryan Cruz, his former teammate with CafeFrance in the PBA D-League.

"For now, I wish them the best of luck. I keep on messaging Bryan because I have a contact with him because we were former teammates. I keep on messaging him to wish him the best of luck," he said.

"I'm supporting them here. I wish I was there to play for them but it just didn't happened," added Ebondo.

"Only God knows what will happen to me. He has a plan for me. I'll just move on and keep working hard for my career. For me to be selected in the team was already a big honor for me," he added.

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