GETTING his life back together is what prompted Roland Patrick Vinasoy to join the Nike Rise tryouts - and eventually become part of the final 24 aspirants now undergoing rigorous training.
The 6-foot-1 Vinasoy was a member of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets team in Season 75 of the UAAP that was led by Thirdy Ravena. But after moving to La Salle in college, Vinasoy found himself dropping out and abandoning basketball.
“Medyo nagloko ako, tapos may financial issues kami ng konti,” said Vinasoy, without elaborating.
Vinasoy, 20, felt lost for a long time and returned to basketball to find a sense of direction. What he found was a new sense of purpose after joining the Nike Rise tryouts.
“Before I turned 20, I was thinking, ‘Ano ba ginagawa ko sa buhay ko?’ Hindi ako naglalaro ng basketball tapos I was kinda lost. Nag-stop kasi ako since fourth year high school. Ginawa ko, nag-basketball uli ako, shooting-shooting, tapos ginagaya ko ‘yung mga nasa YouTube.
“Then nag-Google ako ng ‘basketball tryouts UAAP NCAA’ mga ganung type. Walang lumabas. Then the following day, a friend called me that may tryouts daw for Nike and sabi niya mag-apply ako at baka maubusan ako,” said Vinasoy.
Vinasoy joined the Manila tryouts of the reality documentary program and was surprised to make the cut, getting the golden opportunity to learn former Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes.
“This is my second chance. It could be my last chance, actually. Nabuhayan uli ako dahil nagba-basketball na uli ako,” he said.
Vinasoy, however, is tempering his expectations ahead of the announcement of the final Nike Rise lineup. The forward from Barangay Valenzuela in Makati admitted he wasn't a star player with the Blue Eaglets - and by no means is he among the most skilled player in the final 24.
But what he has is renewed motivation - and a big, fighting heart.
“I just have to play my game. If I show them enough, show them heart during practice and scrimmage, feeling ko, may chance ako na makuha,” he said.
“Hindi naman ako ‘yung star ng Ateneo. I’m the effort and heart guy. There is a lot of talent out here. Like I said, I’m not a skilled player here. Iniisip ko ‘yung experience ko sa juniors, ‘yun ang angat ko sa kanila. Pero dapat maging instrument din ako na maturuan ko sila,” said Vinasoy.
If a college scout approached him during or after the Nike Rise experience, Vinasoy is certain what he can offer to a team.
“Puro heart lang. Heart and effort,” said Vinasoy.