SLOWLY but surely, big man Noy Baclao is regaining the self confidence he lost after being constantly traded from one team to another in his young PBA career.
And he could only thank two-time league MVP Danny Ildefonso for the words of encouragement when he was at the lowest point of his career.
They Said It!
““Sobrang bagsak ng kumpiyansa ko noon, kaya (si Danny Ildefonso) ang una kong kinausap. Sabi niya, tiyaga-tiyaga lang. Hindi ko malilimutan `yung sinabi niya, `Malay mo, ginagawa pa lang ng Diyos `yung playing time mo.’" - former No.1 overall draft pick Noy Baclao of Talk 'N Text
Baclao, who became close to Ildefonso during his brief stint with Petron, said the veteran big man was the first person whom he talked to when he was relegated to the reserve list by Meralco last season.
“Sobrang bagsak ng kumpiyansa ko noon, kaya siya (Danny I) ang una kong kinausap. Sabi niya, tiyaga-tiyaga lang. Hindi ko malilimutan `yung sinabi niya, `Malay mo, ginagawa pa lang ng Diyos `yung playing time mo.’ Natuwa naman ako sa sinabi niya.”
Added Baclao, “Sabi pa niya, `Be ready talaga sa laro mo, eventually makakahanap ka rin ng team mo. Baka pag binigay na ng Diyos `yung playing time mo, baka ikaw pa ang mangayaw.”
The playing time Baclao has long sought he has finally found in his new home, Talk `N Text, where he is reunited with former college coach Norman Black.
Although yet to attain the same status deserving of a former top draft pick overall, the pride of Bacolod City said he’s more comfortable where he is right now as he plays under the man who he credited for paving the way for his basketball career here in Manila.
“Kabisado ko na kasi `yung system ni coach Norman,” said the former Ateneo stalwart, who won two UAAP men’s championships with Black. “Hindi naman ako naghahanap ng mahabang playing time, as long as nandoon ako sa rotation ok lang ako.
“Yung `W’ ang laging importante, ganun naman kahit nung college ako, basta manalo. Kahit konting time, basta ipinasok, okay lang.”
But the 26-year-old Baclao said he’s really yet to fully settle down in the pros as he had to play with four different teams in four seasons since being drafted No. 1 overall pick by Air21 in 2010.
“Hindi ka makalaro, nakakasira ng kumpiyansa,” he said of the different trades he has been involved in.
“Nakaka-disappoint. Gusto mong i-prove `yung sarili mo tapos, maya-maya di ka na kasama sa rotation. Biglang trade na naman, so another adjustment.”
Baclao said he hopes Talk `N Text – through Black – will finally serve as the home he’s been longing for in his pro career.
“Paunti-unti nababalik ang kumpiyansa ko,” he admitted. “Ngumingiti na nga ako ngayon sa laro e.”