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    Now or never as unknown from war-torn Zamboanga makes one last push in draft

    Oct 30, 2013
    Six years removed from college, Darwin Cordero joins fellow Zamboangeño and Far Eastern University star RR Garcia in the annual rookie draft on Sunday at Robinson’s Place in Ermita. Jerome Ascano

    UNLIKE his more popular provincemates Mark Barroca and Rudy Lingganay, he chose to stay in his native Zamboanga instead of trying his luck in Manila.

    Given another chance, he’s not about to spurn what could probably be his final shot at the big time.

    Darwin Cordero, long considered one of the top players in the province of Zamboanga, said he finally decided to apply for the PBA rookie draft after seeing his batchmates in Barroca and Lingganay enjoy success in the Asia’s first ever pro league.

    They Said It!

    “Idol ko 'yan." - FEU star and fellow PBA draft aspirant RR Garcia on Cordero 

    Six years removed from college, the 27-year-old cager joins younger fellow Zamboangeño and Far Eastern University star RR Garcia in the annual event among potential rookie players set on Sunday at Robinson’s Place in Ermita.

    Cordero and Garcia played together in Zamboanga, although Garcia was still in high school when Cordero was already a star at Southern City Colleges.

    “Idol ko yan,” Garcia said on Monday when he and Cordero joined 83 other rookie applicants for the traditional biometrics measurement held at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.

    “Hindi pa siya masyado kilala kasi hindi siya naglaro sa Manila, pero magaling naman siya,” Garcia said of Cordero. “Depende na lang sa mga coach kung makikita siya. Mahirap rin mag-decide kung siguradong makukuha. Siguro abangan na lang natin.”

    Here's one of the many videos on YouTube on Cordero:

    Cordero, who graduated in 2007 when he was named MVP of the Private Schools Athletic Association, took this long to apply for the draft because he didn’t want to leave his family at the time.

    Continue reading below ↓

    “Medyo hindi ako sanay na mapalayo sa probinsya namin,” Cordero said in a chat with Spin.ph during a lull in the pre-draft event.

    The farthest he went away from his family was still in Mindanao — in General Santos City to be more precise when he played in the Liga Pilipinas as part of the Manny Pacquiao-owned MP GenSan Warriors for two years.

    Garcia describes Cordero as an undersized but athletic power forward, whom he went as far as comparing to a smaller  version of Mac Baracael because of his ability to post up.

    Officially listed at 5’10" ¼ and with a vertical reach of 10 feet and eight inches, Cordero said he is capable of playing either guard spots in the pro ranks.

    He also knows time is not on his side.

    “Last push na ‘to,” said Cordero, who registered 40 pushups, 40 sit-ups, and eight pull-ups in the biometrics measurement. “Hindi ako nag-e-expect pero try lang.”

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    Six years removed from college, Darwin Cordero joins fellow Zamboangeño and Far Eastern University star RR Garcia in the annual rookie draft on Sunday at Robinson’s Place in Ermita. Jerome Ascano
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