WONDERING why Ola Adeogun has not been as dominant as he was in previous NCAA seasons?
That’s because the Nigerian slotman is eager to dispel the notion that San Beda is relying too much on its imports, who have come under fire for supposedly “killing” the development of homegrown players.
Adeogun averaged a team-leading 16.2 points on 61-percent shooting to go with 11.7 boards, and 1.8 blocks in 24.4 minutes at the end of the eliminations last season but has been hesitant to take the lead role in his final year, deferring to Art dela Cruz.
That has resulted in the 6-foot-8 cager’s numbers going slightly down to 15.6 points on 73 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 23.8 minutes in the Red Lions’ first six games of Season 91, letting PBA aspirant Dela Cruz shine and norm an impressive stats line of 20.7 points, 14.2 boards, 5.7 assists, and 1.2 steals in 28.7 minutes.
“Some people, that’s what they say about (predecessors) (Sam) Ekwe, Su (Daniel), and me, na dahil sa imports, hindi nabubuhay yung mga San Beda players sa PBA kasi they depend on imports,” said Adeogun, who opened up to Spin.ph after keeping mum about the issue for a while.
“I’m trying to change the mentality na at San Beda, we really work hard to become champions. We don’t depend on imports,” the Lagos, Nigeria native added.
The Lions, who have another reinforcement in Pierre Tankoua of Cameroon, are seeking a record sixth straight seniors’ title and have won all but one of their outings, running second behind undefeated Letran in the standings.
“Look at Rome (dela Rosa), Kyle (Pascual), Anthony and David (Semerad), Anjo (Caram), Dave (Marcelo), and Jake (Pascual) – all these guys I’ve played with,” Adeogun continued. “Jake is playing well in the PBA. I didn’t kill Jake’s talent. Me and Kyle played the same position, but I didn’t kill Kyle’s talent.”
“All I tried to do was help these guys get better.”
“I’m not killing anybody’s talent,” Adeogun, who turned 24 last month, added. “I’m here to have my education. I’m here to be a better person in life. I’m here to use the opportunity that I have and my talent gave me.”
In the Lions’ last game against University of Perpetual Help, Adeogun registered just 11 points and 13 boards, while Dela Cruz and Michole Sorela put up 25 and 15 points, respectively.
“Tinatanong ng mga kaibigan ko, ‘What will happen to you after mag-graduate if you’re playing like that? Eh ‘di wala kang profile. Parang wala kang nagawa sa San Beda.’
“Pero ako kasi, I believe na whatever God has planned for you, he has it for you,” Adeogun added. “Hindi naman ako maglalaro sa PBA eh, so ibibigay ko na lang yung opportunity na maglalaro sa PBA.”
“May mga ibang opportunity naman ako eh,” the graduating marketing major continued. “I could continue to play (elsewhere). I want to take up my master’s. I want to work. I know with my talent, mabubuhay ako talaga after school.”
Adeogun also expressed his dismay when the NCAA stopped the recruitment of foreign players starting last year.
“Pag tapos na kami at yung mga nag-enroll, wala na,” he said. “So nalungkot ako kasi…hindi nila alam yung nangyayari sa Africa eh. There are so many things that are happening in Africa that these kids should be happy that they are making something out of their lives in a foreign land.
“Marami pang mga bata sa Africa na they need this kind of opportunity to help their families at home,” he added. “But this is their league. They have their own rules. There is nothing we could do.”
Still, Adeogun, who moved to the country when he was 18, is thankful to San Beda for building his character.
“Malaki ang tulong sa akin ng San Beda sa buhay ko. It made me a better person. It made me grow up, it makes me someone that has a goal in the future.”