RARE does a high school player get a chance to play against PBA players in a competitive game.
The Manila South team playing in the Fiba 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters did just that after the Cebu-based squad faced Manila West in the preliminaries on Saturday at the Robinsons’ Place, Ermita.
The youngest team among the 16 in the competition, Joshua Sinclair, Jair Igna, Lucky Ecarma, and Carlo Ortega had to square off against an all-PBA squad of Terrence Romeo, Rey Guevarra, Aldrech Ramos, and Nino Canaleta.
Prior to the match-up against Manila West, the Manila South also lost to Auckland, 21-14.
As expected, the Manila West squad won over their much-younger opponents from Cebu, the members of which mostly from the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu team, 21-14. Still, it was a dream come true for the Manila South players.
“Sobrang blessed,” said Ecarma. “Masayang masaya na sa edad na ‘to, naka-experience kaming makalaro ng professionals.
Ortega, the only non-Magis Eagle from the team, was speechless in describing the experience.
“Masaya po,” said Ortega, a University of San Carlos product. “Hindi ko po maintindihan ‘yung pakiramdam ko.”
Igna said it one of the biggest highlight of his young basketball career.
“It was really one of the best experience na nangyari sa basketball career ko,” said Igna.
For Sinclair, the youngest among the group at 17 and one of the blue-chip high school prospects from Cebu, playing against one of his idols in basketball in Romeo is an unforgettable moment.
“It’s really a dream come true. I idolize Terrence Romeo, all the other guys. It was really, really good to play against them, guard against them, and try to score against them.
“Even though it was difficult, it was insane,” said Sinclair, who will enter his fourth year with the Magis Eagles.
Knowing how daunting the task is in facing a PBA team, the Manila South team just had one strategy, do their best.
“Alam naman namin na mahirap manalo dito. Ang mindset lang namin is do our best because nothing to lose kami dito,” said Ecarma.
Ortega said: “Ginawa lang namin ‘yung best namin. Dikitan lang namin.”
“Being underdog is really hard,” said Igna. “Being the underdog was really hard for us but I consider it as an opportunity against the best players in the world.”
Sinclair said the experience will only be a boost for him and his teammates in the long run.
“Win or lose, we just want to get the experience and have fun. Win or lose, we are going to go up against the best players. It’s a win-win situation,” said Sinclair.