VIC Manuel recently paid tribute to one of his coaches at Philippine School of Business and Administration (PSBA)-Quezon City on social media.
Manuel posted a photo of him with Joseph Ocampo on Instagram, and he thanked his former coach for his efforts that made him one of the best players in the PBA today.
“’Yung coach mong halos patayin ka na nung college days,” wrote Manuel. “Kulang na lang mag-suntukan kaming dalawa pero no choice ka kasi coach siya at magkasama pa kayo sa quarters.”
“Pero narerealize mo na lang na para sayo talaga ‘yun lahat. Kaya worth it din talaga lahat ng hirap at pagod mo. Kahit kulang talaga sa pagkain noon. Still thankful sa lahat. Wag makalimot saan man nagsimula,” Manuel added.
Ocampo has been coaching at PSBA for 18 years. He was the lead assistant coach to Philip Cezar during Manuel’s days with the Jaguars including in 2011 when Manuel led the school to the UCAA title in his final year as a college player.
Ocampo still recalls how PSBA was able to recruit Manuel through his cousin who was already part of the team.
“Kasi ‘yung pinsan niya, player na namin. Taga-Nueva Ecija ‘yan, kababayan ko ‘yan eh. Inilapit. May pinsan daw siya, malaki. Sabi ko, puwede na ‘yan, basta malaki. Dinala siya dito. Puwede na ‘yang malaki, tuturuan na lang,” said Ocampo in an interview with SPIN.ph.
When he first saw Manuel play, Ocampo said he was indeed just tall.
“Nung dumating siya dito, hindi siya magaling. Malaki lang at ‘yung wingspan niya mahaba. Ang payat niyan. Kung lumay-up nga ‘yan, saliwa. Pero nakakuha kami ng malaki, suwerte kami dahil wala namang pumupunta dito,” said Ocampo.
“Madali magturo eh. Ang kailangan lang, ‘yung kagustuhan ng bata na matuto,” he added.
It was exactly that kind of attitude that made Manuel improve immensely during his stay with PSBA as the tireless efforts of the coaching staff brought Manuel to new heights.
“Tinutukan namin lalo si coach Philip. Grabe ang tutok ni coach Philip diyan,” he said.
Aside from the teachings of the player known as ‘Tapal King,’ Manuel would also get guidance from Ocampo, who lives at the players’ quarters at that time.
Ocampo saw for himself how hardworking Manuel was at PSBA, even seeing him doing extra trainings as late as midnight just so that he can improve his craft.
“Minsan nagvi-viewing ako ng gabi para tahimik, alas-dose ng gabi, gising pa ‘yan. Nagbubuhat pa ‘yan. Napapagalitan ko ‘yan. Minsan alas-onse, hindi siya makatulog, magbubuhat, magsushooting, minsan naka-brief lang ‘yan kasi kami lang tao dito. Pursigido,” said Ocampo.
Ocampo made an effort to push Manuel to the limit since he was the star player of the Jaguars. Trainings even got so intense to a point where Manuel and Ocampo would exchange words and even challenge each other to fist fights.
“Naghahamunan kami niyan. Nagmumurahan kami niyan. Kasi naglalaro siya sa amin, 40 minutes, 35 minutes, kailangang pukpukin ko ng pukpukin. Kapag binaby ko siya, siya ang kawawa. Gagawin naman niya pero masama ang loob niya.
“Tatakbuhin niya, suicides. Kapag nagiindividuals kami, sasabihin ko kulang pa ng lima. Gagawin naman niya pero mag-aaway muna kami. Minsan nandiyan pa si coach Philip. Sasabihin niya, ‘Vic, ‘yan ka na naman.’ Kakamot kamot ‘yun. Pero pagdating ng tanghali, kakain kami, magkasama kami,” Ocampo said.
The PSBA coach recalled one of his chats with Manuel where he related his mindset about working hard in practice.
“Katwiran din kasi niya, pakiramdam niya, hindi siya makakapagtapos ng pag-aaral. Eto na lang ang susi niya para umangat. Kaya talagang pinagpursigihan niya,” said Ocampo.
Manuel’s hours at the gym proved to be worth it as he became PSBA’s star. He soon began getting invites from ligang labas. Offers from high-profile colleges also came, but Manuel chose to stay with the Jaguars.
A year after his last college game, Manuel made it to the PBA after he was drafted ninth overall in the 2012 draft by GlobalPort. Manuel, however, rose to prominence when he moved to Alaska where he has become the star of the Aces.
Ocampo admitted he never thought Manuel would be able to make it to the PBA during the first time he saw him play.
“Kapag nag-aaway nga kami, sinasabi ko ‘Wala ka pa sa PBA. Mag-PBA ka muna bago mo ako angasan. Tapusin mo ‘yan,’” said Ocampo, recalling one of his practices.
When he finally made it to the PBA, Ocampo said: “Nagpasalamat siya. Sabi ko, ‘Nakarating ka na diyan. ‘Wag mo pabayaan ‘yung grasya. Hindi pang-habang buhay ‘yan. Pansamantala lang ‘yan. Maraming player na sumikat, nawala, walang wala rin. Kaya sabi ko, magpundar ka. Wag mo abusuhin ‘yung grasya.”
Aside from being a talented player, Ocampo said it is Manuel’s heart that really set him apart from most players. Ocampo said Manuel never forgets his humble beginnings especially during this pandemic where Manuel came to help in times where coaches struggle in their work because of the absence of games.
“Nung nag-ECQ, ‘yan ang unang unang talagang halos araw-araw tumatawag. Pinapadalhan ako ng bigas, lutong pagkain ng asawa niya halos every week hanggang ngayon. Naistop suweldo namin. Inaabutan ako niyan. Every birthday ko, nagpapahanda dito kahit nung ECQ. Pumunta sila ng pamilya niya. Every year ‘yun. Hindi niya ako pinababayaan,” said Ocampo.
“Sabi niya, ‘Coach, hangga’t meron, walang problema. Nakapunta ako dito dahil sa inyo. Siguro ngayon, time ngayon na ako naman ang makabawi sa inyo. Hindi man masusuklian ‘yung ginawa niyo sa akin, kahit papano, mapakita ko naman na nagpapasalamat ako sa inyo,’” said Ocampo, quoting Manuel.
Ocampo said he is just proud to have a product with that kind of talent and attitude such as Manuel.
“Kaya ‘yung mga nagbabash sa kanya, sa loob-loob ko, hindi niyo kilala ‘yung tao. Napakabait niyan,” he added.