JR GALLARZA said he will no longer pursue a career in basketball in the Philippines at the end of his collegiate career with the University of the Philippines Maroons, saying he plans to go back home to Canada and be with his son.
Gallarza said he is turning his back on a possible lucrative basketball career beyond college to start in his hometown of Ontario, Canada where his parents and his three-year old son are currently based.
“I’m going home,” said Gallarza when asked about his plans after his last game for the Maroons. “I’m going to be graduating this end of semester, pass my final requirements on December 4. My ticket is booked for December 8.”
“This is my first time in like five years where I don’t have a return ticket,” he added.
Gallarza, who was raised in Canada, said it has always been his goal to finish college in the Philippines. He has played five seasons with the Maroons while taking up Education at UP, where he is in the running for honors.
Now that he is weeks away from achieving his goal, Gallarza said he has no plan to try his luck in one of the cage leagues in the country, or perhaps the PBA.
Instead, the 6-5 forward said it’s time to be a full-time father.
“College is so expensive back home and I came out here to play basketball and five years later, I’m graduating. That’s my initial goal. I’ll be able to attain that. I’ve achieved so many things that I haven’t dreamed off when I was a kid. I’m blessed to be here and be part of UP,” said Gallarza.
“I’m going home, and after talking to my parents, I think it would be best for me to go home and continue life. It’s going to be real life for me now and looking for a career and everything. I’m just going to be a father when I head home,” he added.
“It’s time to move on and be a father to my son. It’s time for him to have his father around,” Gallarza added.
Gallarza said his son, who has been raised by his parents all his life, is the biggest reason why he is going back to Canada for good, saying he feels it would be better for him to adjust to new life in Canada than his son adjusting to a new life here in the Philippines.
“I decided that I'd rather have me adjusting than have my son adjust here. I’ll be taking him away from his grandparents if I decide to stay here. He will definitely miss him. What’s best for my son comes first,” said Gallarza.
Gallarza said he makes it a point to be in touch with his son at least once a day through Facetime while in Manila. Now that he has decided to go back home, he is looking forward to be the best father he can be.
“I’m a silly dad. A lot of my friends look at me as a kid with a kid. And I am. But at the same time, when it’s time to be a father to him, when it’s time to do the disciplining, I would like to think that I’m a good dad.
“His grandparents spoil him a lot. Sometimes, I’m a bad guy because I put my foot down a lot. I like to think that I’m a good dad. Hopefully, he would do the same when he gets older,” said Gallarza.
Gallarza said he will try to pursue a teaching career in Canada.
“It’s entirely a different adjustment period. I’ll take it a day at a time just like when I first stepped in the Philippines,” Gallarza said.