THE saying, ‘When one door closes, another opens’ held true for former University of the Philippines player Mikee Reyes, who will be one of the members of the NCAA television panel for Season 91.
Reyes will make his debut as analyst for ABS-CBN Sports' coverage of the games, just a season removed from his stint with the Maroons in the UAAP in Season 77 which turned out to be his last year with the state-run university.
The opportunity came knocking after Reyes suffered yet another major injury, an ACL tear. while playing for the Pampanga Foton Tornadoes in the Filsports Basketball Association (FBA) over the summer.
Earlier in his collegiate career, Reyes had to undergo shoulder surgery twice, missing two seasons with the UP Maroons.
Following the recent injury, FBA commissioner Vince Hizon, also an analyst for FOX Sports Philippines' coverage of the PBA, asked Reyes if he would be interested in being one of the members of the TV panel for the FBA games. He agreed and eventually did two games partnering with seasoned broadcasters Sev Sarmenta and Noel Zarate.
That opened a new door for Reyes, leading to his foray into sportscasting.
“Nagulat ako kasi me and my friend (Tin Gamboa of FOX Sports) were eating sa NBA Café during the Jordan Clarkson event. The guy in front of me was like, ‘Are you Mikee Reyes? You covered the FBA, right? Do you want to audition sa NCAA?’”
At first, he was hesitant but eventually agreed, mainly because of his experience doing FBA games.
“Try ko lang daw. I went to the audition, wala namang mawawala. Tapos nagulat ako na they called back,” said Reyes.
“I really didn’t want to take it because wala akong experience sa broadcasting. But when coach Vince talked to me, he said, 'Just talk about the game. It’s just basketball, bakit ka kakabahan?' I was more focused on how I’m going to say things and the media side of it, not the basketball side of it.
“During the FBA, after a while, relax na lang ako (doing games). Kuwentuhan na lang kami ni Sir Noel and Sir Sev. It’s just explaining basketball. Kahit wala akong background (sa broadcasting), it’s just basketball. It’s easy to tell them what I know,” said Reyes.
After getting the nod to be part of the NCAA coverage team that will also have former PBA player Olsen Racela and UP juniors coach Allan Gregorio, among others, Reyes said he tried to learn even more by watching top sports commentators.
“During the NBA playoffs, sila Marc Jackson (ESPN analyst) na ‘yung pinapanood ko, hindi na sila Steph (Curry),” Reyes said with a smile.
Reyes said broadcasting has proven to be a welcome diversion, taking his mind away from his latest injury setback and making the recovery period seem shorter.
“It’s feeling better. Two months ago, nag-surgery na ako. Kaya pumapasok ako sa ganito para it would seem that it’s shorter,” said Reyes.
But Reyes made it clear he still wants to get back to the court once his knee heals - and maybe become the first active player to be part of a television broadcast team.
“I want to be the first player-analyst,” Reyes said.