JUST last year, the Philippine men’s national team proved that volleyball is more than just a woman’s game after making a historic run at the 30th Southeast Asian Games that earned them a silver medal.
Among the squad's game changers is captain John Vic De Guzman, who revealed to Spin.ph in a recent interview in our audio show Spin Sidelines about how volleyball has rewritten his fate.
Not bad for someone whose first sport wasn't even volleyball.
“Nung nagsisimula ako, hindi talaga ito laro ko, badminton talaga, pero nagpagaling ako rito at na-convince ako ng mom ko na maglaro para sa studies ko. Pumunta ako ng Manila para mag-tryout at luckily nakuha ako,” he said.
Thanks to his love for the game, the 26-year-old revealed that volleyball has given him the opportunity to study in the metro, to having his name on the big screen, and. of course, to see himself representing the men’s volleyball community in the country.
“For me, it happened na this sport is the best way para makakuha ng scholarship and makapag-aral sa college. Pinilit ko ‘yung sarili ko matuto mag-volleyball para magkaroon ng ganitong chance makapag-aral sa Manila,” he told SPIN Life.
His string of successes began when he steered the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde to their first ever title in the NCAA men’s volleyball.
“Sabi ko sa sarili ko, hindi talaga ako ga-graduate ng CSB, hindi ako aalis hangga’t hindi kami nakakapag-champion,” he said.
Things have changed mightily since his scholarship days. “Simula pa lang, nakapagtapos kami ng pag-aaral dahil dito. Hindi na lang kami naglalaro for income, pero ngayon, ‘yun na talaga ‘yung mundong ginagalawan namin.”
Now, he’s one of the biggest names associated to men’s volleyball. As a banner athlete in the sport, he’s paying it forward to the people and institutions that contributed to his success. John Vic would always give credit where it is due, to his volleyball mentors that molded him into the person he is now.
“’Yung mga coaches ko talaga ang nagbigay sa'kin ng chance para ma-adapt ko ‘yung disiplina na kailangan ko sa buhay, unang-una si coach Arnold Laniog, siya din ‘yung coach nung una akong pumasok sa Benilde,” he said.
He added: "Yung mga coaches ko, iba-iba sila ng way ng pagtu-tutor pero iisa lang goal nila, for you to be a better person, a better player, and to be disciplined.”
After having recalled the milestone he’s had with the sport that changed his life, PLDT’s opposite spiker left a few inspirational words for the young big dreamers like he was.
“Lagi nating pahalagahan ‘yung simple at malalaking bagay na dumarating sa’tin, grab every opportunity para maipakita ‘yung talent mo sa larangan ng sports,” he said.