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    As PBA door closes, London opportunity opens for undrafted Magallanes

    Apr 14, 2021

    FROM the very beginning, Shem Kenneth Magallanes knew that his PBA dream was a longshot.

    Yet the former overseas Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia, whose only previous varsity experience was with Caybiga High School in Caloocan, went along with the process and was one of the 86 hopefuls who hoped to hear their names called in the virtual PBA Season 46 Rookie Draft.

    Dreams have to begin somewhere, he thought, and like every other hopeful, Magallanes sent his application form and hoped for a miracle last March 14.

    But after 65 names were called, the 5-foot-8 guard was one of the 21 unfortunate ones who went undrafted.


    It's understandable if Magallanes felt disappointed.

    After all, if it was some other year, he would have had his chance to show his wares against fellow applicants through the Draft Combine in the hope of making an impression on the coaches and scouts. That possibility was scratched because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Magallanes, though, stood up at the end of the show and added one more element to his draft day garb: a smile.

    "Masaya pa rin naman ako at thankful ako kay God dahil kahit paano napasama ako dun sa mga applicants," he said. "Hindi man ako napili, isang malaking oportunidad na yun para sa akin na minsang nangarap na makarating doon."

    He also felt like he is living his dream vicariously through his friends Rey Mark Acuno, who was Blackwater's surprise second-round pick at 14th overall, and Jeson Delfinado, who was picked by the Bossing in the sixth round, 56th overall. The three were training partners in the leadup to the annual draft exercise.


    "Masayang-masaya rin ako para sa mga kaibigan ko na na-pick tulad ni Rey Mark Acuno at Jeson Delfinado. Sa totoo lang, lahat naman ng napili, deserve nila yun," he said.

    "Sa mga hindi naman napili tulad ko, patuloy pa rin kami sa pangarap namin at di kami nawawalan ng pag-asa, na balang araw, ibibigay din ni God yung para sa amin."

    It's already quite a feat really for Magallanes, who had no idea the paper his wife April gave him back in December was already a PBA draft application form.

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    Still, there was a part of him which kept on holding out hope, that though the five-a-side game may have closed on him, the maiden PBA 3x3 competitions could still be a viable path for him to take.

    But realistically speaking, his shot there is already beyond his control.

    "Madalas pumapasok sa isip ko na gusto ko rin makapaglaro sa 3x3 teams, pero ang paniniwala ko kasi kung ano man yung will ni God, yun yung aking tatanggapin," he said.


    A month removed from the annual rookie selection proceedings, God's will took Magallanes over 10,000 kilometers away from Manila.

    The Caloocan native left for London in early April in search for the next chapter in his life - and a better future for him and his family.

    "Sa totoo lang, di ko pa alam kung ano ang magiging trabaho ko dito," he admitted to Spin.ph.

    Nonetheless, the smile couldn't be wiped off Magallanes' face as he is reunited with his wife, who is working as a staff nurse in the United Kingdom since late last year.

    "Medyo matagal din kaming nagkahiwalay that time na nagte-training ako for the draft kaya masaya ako na nakasama ko siya ulit. Naka-home quarantine ako ngayon pero ine-enjoy ko muna yung oras na kasama ko siya after niya umuwi from duty," he said.

    The future may still be uncertain for Magallanes, but he knows that no matter where in the world he is, he will always feel grateful for the doors that basketball opened for him.


    That's why one can only appreciate the tremendous resolve this Misamis Oriental-born baller has in him.

    "Kahit nasa ibang bansa ako, hindi ko makakalimutan yung basketball kasi ito yung naging dahilan kung bakit ako nakalipad noon papuntang Saudi. Ipagpapatuloy ko pa din ang paglalaro pag may pagkakataon at patuloy na magbigay ng inspirasyon sa mga batang gusto din tahakin ang landas na aking napuntahan," he said.


      "Hindi natin alam kung may oportunidad na kakatok sa atin dahil darating na lang yan, kaya hindi ako susuko sa pangarap ko bukod pa sa basketball."

      From Riyadh to Caloocan and now London, Magallanes only has one message for everyone: Never give up on your dream.

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