HARD to imagine, but Allyn Bulanadi almost left San Sebastian back in 2018.
It was a tumultuous time in Recto which saw almost half of the Egay Macaraya-coached Golden Stags wiped out.
And believe it or not, the Davao-born Bulanadi was close to being a part of that exodus.
"Alam niyo yung naghihiwa-hiwalay? Dapat kasama ako doon, noong nagka-piratahan na," he told The Prospects Pod.
Bulanadi, who was then one of the emerging stars for San Sebastian, saw his teammates flee for greener pastures one-by-one.
Former Gilas Youth guard Renzo Navarro was the first to leave for Lyceum before hard-nosed forward Jayson David eventually joined him.
And then, all hell broke loose.
Alfren Gayosa jumped ship to Arellano, Mark Sangalang went to Letran, Jerwyn Guinto and Alvin Baetiong soon went to the Pirates, while Justine Mercado tried his luck in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
For his part, Bulanadi was eyed to link up anew with his peers in Lyceum, which could have also reunited him with coach Topex Robinson, the same coach who recruited him to San Sebastian back in 2014.
"Marami kami noon. Nagka-ayaan kami at yung tropa ko, si Spencer Pretta tinatanong na kung lilipat na daw ba ako o hindi. Sabi ko, pagisipan ko muna," he said.
"Nagulat ako kinabukasan, lumipat agad sila. Ang bilis kasi napagisipan na nila."
Lucky for the Golden Stags, Bulanadi decided to stay put after a heart-to-heart talk with the Augustinian priests and his own dad.
"Nakausap ako ng pari ng Baste eh. Kinausap din ako ng tatay ko na wag na daw ako lumipat dahil maga-adjust na naman ako," the 6-foot-2 gunner said.
Gamble as it was to some, it paid off nicely for Bulanadi as he got a Mythical Team nod in his final year for the Golden Stags this past NCAA Season 95 after averaging 20 points on 35-percent shooting from deep, to go with 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals.
"Hindi ko pinagsisihan yung decision ko na mag-stay," the 23-year-old said. "Grabe yung naitulong ng Baste sa akin, lalo na nung pagdating ni coach Egay (Macaraya) kasi nung pangalawang taon niya sa Baste, nag-Final Four agad kami eh. Ilang taon din kaming hindi nakapasok ng Final Four and then, last year, nakabalik ulit kami."
Scouts also took notice.
Two years since the mass departure from San Sebastian, Bulanadi earned a callup in the revamped Gilas Pilipinas pool as he was selected fourth overall in the 2019 PBA Rookie Draft and landed in Alaska.
Good things really come to those who wait.