UNKNOWN rookie Regie Boy Basibas repaid the trust given him by University of Santo Tomas coach Bong Dela Cruz after coming up with a career game in the Tigers’ win over University of the Philippines in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old Basibas scored 16 points and grabbed 18 rebounds - both career-highs - as the Tigers turned back the Maroons, 77-65, to keep their Final Four hopes alive.
Basibas was used sparingly in the first round of eliminations, but played the entire fourth quarter during the Tigers’ game against Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
His quality minutes against the Tamaraws earned him longer exposure against the Maroons, where the native of typhoon-ravaged Leyte played his best game in his young UAAP career.
“Nag-step up siya sa practice,” admitted Dela Cruz on his decision to give Basibas more playing time. “May injured players kami, kailangan namin ng player na mag-step-up.”
Basibas, a native of Carigara, Leyte, is practically an unknown among this year’s rookie batch as he only played one year for Arellano in high school.
But that didn’t stop Dela Cruz from including him in the Tigers’ 16-man lineup this season.
“Athletic si Basibas. ‘Yung basketball skills niya, mataas. Natututo pa siya this year sa UAAP. Go hard lagi siya sa practice. Lumabas ‘yung game niya ngayon,” said Dela Cruz.
Basibas is used to overcoming adversities.
Like the rest of the people of Leyte, he said his family was also a casualty of super-typhoon Yolanda which struck the province late last year.
“’Yung bahay po namin, nasira pero ‘yung family ko, okay naman. Hindi naman kami masyadong naapektuhan dahil 30 minutes kami (from) Tacloban, pero sira po ‘yung bahay namin,” said Basibas.
After his high school career was cut short, Basibas tried to improve on his game and even went as far as Guagua, Pampanga to hone his skills by playing in barangay leagues.
His improved play eventually became good enough to pass the UST tryouts.
“Sa Pampanga ako nagpalakas. Tapos nag-tryout ako sa UST. ‘Yung coach ko po doon, pinapunta ako,” recalled the 6-foot-3 Basibas.
Following his breakout game, Basibas said he will continue to do his role with the Tigers.
“Sabi niya (coach), dapat ready lang ako. ‘Yung ibang players, injured, ako ‘yung pinasok niya. Gagawin ko lang ‘yung pinapagawa sa akin,” he said.