WHEN SPIN.ph ran a story about Arwind Santos on Tuesday, not a few fans became curious about a certain player who sat next to the San Miguel star wearing jersey No. 23 in practice.
His name is Daniel De Guzman, who incidentally is San Miguel’s fourth-round pick in the 2019 PBA draft. Although he has yet to sign a contract with the Beermen, De Guzman has been diligently attending practices in the hope of landing a roster spot.
“Masaya lang talaga na nakabilang ako sa team,” said the 29-year-old De Guzman. “Go hard lang every practice. Sinusunod ko lang ‘yung sinasabi ni coach na kailangang gawin sa court. Pukpok lang.”
De Guzman could be the diamond in the rough the Beermen are looking for.
A product of Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology, De Guzman gained interest from major collegiate teams like University of Santo Tomas and Lyceum but opted to stay put in the province.
“Hindi ko lang talaga ma-grab that time kasi hindi ko maiwan ‘yung family ko,” said De Guzman, when asked about the reason why he never played in Manila.
The interest, however, never waned for De Guzman. And when he got a call from former UST coach Aric Del Rosario, who was about to take the job as head coach of the Paranaque Patriots in the MPBL, he grabbed the chance.
De Guzman was in Dubai when he got the call.
“Naglaro kasi ako ng Dubai. Nabalitaan na siguro, nakita video ko, nakita na okay itong player na ‘to. Nagkaroon ng first season ng MPBL, tinawagan ako, pumunta ako agad. Hindi ko na pinakawalan ‘yung pagkakataon,” said De Guzman.
De Guzman said some personal problems kept his focus away from basketball. He bared his baby was diagnosed with a heart problem and only recently recovered.
“Talagang hindi ako makapag-focus sa game that time kasi iniisip ko ‘yung baby ko. ‘Yung last baby ko, may heart problem, nag-focus talaga ako. Talagang pinagtuunan ko ng oras ko sa baby ko. Naka-recover na siya,” said De Guzman.
De Guzman went on to play for Muntinlupa and Pampanga in the MPBL and also had stints in the PBA D-League before he was selected 42nd overall by the Beermen in last year’s PBA draft.
As he vies for a spot in the Beermen roster, De Guzman vowed to give it his best shot.
“Sa totoo lang, hindi ko rin talaga ineexpect eh. Blessing lang talaga na dumating itong ganitong opportunity,” said De Guzman.
“Ibibigay ko best ko. Hindi ko pakakawalan ‘yung pagkakaton. Pangarap ko ito. Pangarap ng family ko sa akin. Every time nasa loob ako ng court na binigyan ako ng oras ni coach, ibubuhos ko talaga. Hindi ko sasayangin ang pagkakataon."