SIMON Camacho is a contender for the MVP award in the Filbasket Subic Championship for his splendid all-around play for Medical Depot.
Not bad for someone who almost quit the game during the pandemic.
Camacho, 25, put up impressive all-around numbers of 13.2 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 3.6 blocks in 11 games with Medical Depot. Unfortunately, his team’s title bid ended at the quarterfinal stage.
Prior to the Filbasket opening, he worked out for months on his own in his hometown of Maragondon, Cavite and he admitted the absence of leagues during the pandemic had quitting basketball cross his mind.
“I almost gave up na nung kalagitnaan ng pandemic kasi walang liga na masalihan. Pero [ang family at girlfriend ko] ‘yung nag-push sa akin na ‘wag tumigil," said Camacho, whose last stint was with Bacolod Master Sardines in the MPBL Lakan Season.
TNT draftee in PBA
Camacho, who was drafted 34th overall by TNT in the 2019 draft but was left unsigned, was selling flavored chicken wings on the side while working out on his own in the hope that an opportunity would somehow open up.
Asked why he considered quitting, Camacho said: “Kasi po parang feeling ko walang pagbabago. Pakundisyon ako ng pakundisyon pero walang liga or opportunity na dumadating.
"Para pong naiisip ko din na nagsasayang na lang ako ng oras kaka-workout nung pandemic kasi po wala talagang nangyayari. Walang ligang nagbubukas. Umaasa lang po ako lagi nung mga time na ‘yun.”
Camacho said he took full advantage of the time during the pandemic by working on the weaknesses in his game while applying the strength and conditioning techniques he learned from his former coaches at Adamson.
“‘Yung mga weakness ko po yung mga inayos ko like dribbling and shooting po. Then ‘yung mga strengths ko po, maintain lang po sa workouts,” said Camacho, who worked out twice a day five to six times a week during the lockdown.
Looking back, Camacho said he was glad that he didn’t quit, having seen his sacrifices bear fruit during his stint with Medical Depot.
“Siguro po ‘yung tagal kong hindi nakapaglaro, and I want to show everyone yung tunay na laro ko po,” said Camacho.
The improvement was eye-popping.
In the MPBL, Camacho averaged only 5.5 points and 5.6 rebounds, while barely tallying an assist, steal, or block in 10 games with Bacolod.
At Medical Depot, the 6-4 center had a 22-point game against FSD Makati, 20 rebounds against MTrans, seven assists against San Juan, three steals against Burlington EOG, and eight blocks against Nueva Ecija.
Now Camacho is hoping he has gained enough attention to keep him busy, especially with basketball leagues gradually returning during the pandemic.
An MVP award would help.
“Now po nung nakalaro na ako, now ko po na-realize na worth it lahat nung paghihirap ko," he said. "Nakita na po ‘yung results ng mga pagpapakundisyon ko. And doon ko din po naisip na dapat po laging ready lang kasi po hindi mo alam kung kailan dadating yung opportunity.
So dapat huwag mawalan ng pag-asa,” Camacho added.