THEY'RE more than mere numbers, and there's more to them than meets the eye.
From important dates in their lives to lucky numbers to mere coincidence, there's usually a compelling story behind the numbers your favorite players wear on their backs.
And more often that not, these stories will either surprise you or make you feel closer to your cage idols.
Here's No. 9 of our Jersey Story series:
TIMES have changed.
A new generation of basketball players is taking a liking for No. 7, but it's not because of the icon most identified with the jersey number.
Take National University high school standout Mark Dyke for example. He seized the chance to wear the No. 7 jersey not because of Robert Jaworski but because he idolizes Alaska star and fellow Kapampangan Calvin Abueva.
Although he is now wearing No. 8 in the PBA, Abueva carried the No. 7 jersey during his days with San Sebastian where he started to make a name for himself thanks his talent, skill, and boundless energy on the floor.
Abueva’s exploits with the Stags inspired Dyke to wear No. 7 when he started playing for the NU Bullpups in the UAAP.
“Gusto ko po ‘yung hustle niya sa bola at tapang sa paglalaro. Gusto ko po ‘yung ginagawa niya sa court,” said Dyke, a native of Mexico, Pampanga.
Abueva was also an inspiration when Dyke shifted to basketball. A late bloomer in the game, Dyke began falling in love with basketball in Grade 5 before eventually representing Central Luzon in the Palarong Pambansa just a year after learning the sport.
“Idol ko po si Dwyane Wade. Parang nahilig na lang po ako maglaro ng basketball kasi ginaya ko siya at ‘yung mga (videos nya na) nasa YouTube. Hanggang sa naglaro na po ako sa mga liga-liga sa amin,” said the Pampanga native.
Unknown to many, Dyke, 17, played volleyball and track and field before shifting basketball. He was so good in volleyball, in fact, that he played in the Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association (CLRAA), a qualifier for the Palaro.
“Spiker po ako dati sa volleyball. Sa CLRAA po, basketball at volleyball ang linaro ko. Tapos sa track and field, sinali lang ako dahil mabilis daw ako tumakbo,” said the three-sport star.
It was in basketball, however, where Dyke really flourished, averaging 13.4 points and 14.5 rebounds per game in UAAP Season 77, where he won Mythical Five honors for the second straight year with the Bullpups.
The Bullpups, however, lost to Ateneo in the title series in Dyke’s final season with the school.
Now, the 6-foot-2 Dyke said he has moved on from their loss to the Blue Eaglets while trying to reinvent his game for the college game.
“Hindi po talaga para sa amin. Masaya pa rin ako na naka-finals kami. Ngayon po, nage-extra shooting at dribbling ako para mas ma-improve ko pa po para hindi po ako masyadong mahirapan sa college,” Dyke said.