LOUIE Vigil felt like he's abandoning his team with the untimely end to his collegiate career after new UAAP eligibility rules made him ineligible to play for University of Santo Tomas in Season 79.
Vigil was determined to suit up for the Growling Tigers in his final season, even joining the team’s practices three months ago despite concerns that the league may impose new rules that could affect his spot in the squad.
Unfortunately for Vigil, the UAAP lowered its age limit from 25 to 24, making him ineligible to play for UST. While he knew this might happen at the end of last season, Vigil expressed his frustration over the turn of events as he felt responsible for leading the team that was in turmoil in the offseason.
Still, he maintained he's ready to move forward.
"Nalungkot siyempre kasi mahirap din iwan ‘yung team. Wala pa kaming coach nung time na ‘yun tapos isa lang ‘yung liga namin. Mahirap mag-prepare. Parang iniwan ko ‘yung team ko," Vigil said.
"Pero wala akong magagawa. ‘Yun ang rule," he added. “After ng UAAP last season, sinabi na sa akin sa office kasi delikado pa, baka may mga bagong rules. Pero okay lang, nag-practice pa rin ako. ‘Yung mindset ko, this coming UAAP na. Medyo upset at nakaka-frustrate but life goes on."
Life indeed goes on for Vigil as he was fortunately able to land a spot with Tanduay under head coach Lawrence Chongson in the PBA D-League.
“The day after nalaman ‘yung nangyari, kinontact agad ako ni coach Lawrence,” Vigil shared.
Despite only attending practice for the squad once before the Foundation Cup opened on Thursday, Vigil already saw action for the Rhum Masters, contributing six points in eight minutes during their 72-66 win over AMA.
"Nagulat din ako na kahit short ‘yung time, winelcome nila ako agad. At least kahit papaano, may lalaruan agad ako," said Vigil.
Vigil, however, will not totally leave UST. Despite plans of applying for the PBA draft, Vigil said he also wants to finish his degree in Asian Studies at UST.
"Magpapa-draft ako pero I’ll finish my studies first,” said the fourth-year student.