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    Blackwater rookie Diego Dario taking cue from hardworking DiGregorio

    Jan 14, 2019
    Diego Dario (fourth from right) is eager to learn from veteran guards Mike Cortez (second left) and MIke DiGregorio (fourth left).
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    INSPIRED by Mike DiGregorio’s rise, rookie Diego Dario vows to work hard and prove his worth with Blackwater in the PBA.

    Picked in the third round of the 2018 PBA draft, Dario has been signed by Blackwater to a one-year contract and is determined to prove he has what it takes to have a long and successful career in the pro league.

    One person Dario is looking to follow is Gregorio, who started as a practice player at expansion squad Mahindra, eventually being activated for one conference and getting signed to a long-term contract before winding up at Blackwater.

    “Sabi niya, work ethic lang ‘yung matutulong niya sa akin. Lagi ako sumasabay sa kanya before practice, two hours before practice and after practice. Just work hard. ‘Yun ‘yung gagana,” said Dario.

    “Like before, he had a one-conference contract. Because of hard work, he had a two, three-year contract. Gawin ko ‘yun inspiration for me,” said Dario.

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    Dario is also hoping to learn a lot from 16-year veteran Mike Cortez.

    “Actually, si Kuya Mike, marami siyang naitutulong sa akin in terms of being a point guard,” Dario said. “Sixteen years na siya nasa PBA. As much as possible, I’ll be a sponge when it comes to mga advices na ganun.”

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    Dario is glad he ended up teammates once again with Paul Desiderio, who starred in UP’s run to the finals in UAAP Season 81.

    “Siyempre, in terms of chemistry, wala na problema. Since (Batang) Gilas days, magkasama na kami. Fifth or sixth year ko na siya magiging teammate. Alam na namin laro ng isa’t isa. Ngayon off the bench kami, wala namang problema. Masarap kalaro si Paul ever since. It won’t be a problem adjusting,” Dario said.

    Dario got a taste of the PBA game recently when Blackwater played a tune-up match against San Miguel. In the game, Dario also guarded San Miguel’s newest acquisition Terrence Romeo.

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    It was a dream come true for Dario.

    “Siyempre, in terms of game play, mas physical talaga compared to college ball with the way you read ‘yung situations, defense, iba eh. Higher level na talaga in terms of basketball IQ, reading the defense, reading the offense, and making decisions especially as a point guard,” said Dario.

    “Grateful ako kay Lord. Tagal ko nang pinag-pray ito. Dream ko ‘to since I was a kid. As of now, I’m just enjoying every practice, every moment na marami akong matututunan sa seniors,” said Dario.

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    Diego Dario (fourth from right) is eager to learn from veteran guards Mike Cortez (second left) and MIke DiGregorio (fourth left).
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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