Some players who have excelled playing the game of basketball were late bloomers.
June Mar Fajardo was a classic example of that, becoming the league’s most dominant force as San Miguel Beer restarted the league’s dynasty with him manning the middle.
And along the way, Fajardo collected Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards.
But there are players who are born to play basketball.
Migs Pascual, an incoming UAAP freshman going to see action in the men’s basketball competition, started playing the game early.
Learned to pick up a small ball at the age of four, Pascual emulated his daddy Edmon, who dreamed of becoming a basketball player, but didn’t succeed. The elder Pasucla turned that frustration to passion of teaching his son, Migs, instead. “He started playing at the age of four at our small garage. At first, I thought he was left-handed since he’s taking his shot using his left hand. It was then that I found out he was just emulating me as I am left-handed,” said the elder Pascual.
“When he started using the standard basketball, it was then I realized he was right-handed. Since it’s already a regular-sized basketball, I’ve noticed that right hand is his dominant hand.”
Just like those players starting to play the game, Migs was more focused on dribbling, a good starting point for someone who really wants to play the game.
“We focused on dribbling, since he’s still small. I’m trying to mold him as a point guard. So when I saw that Migs has the potential, I decided to focus on him instead of pursuing my dream of becoming a player,” added Daddy Edmon.
Migs fell in love with the game to the point that he would spend the entire day on the basketball court.
“At the age of 10, morning until night time, he would spend it on the court,” said Edmon. “He would only return to our house to eat, then comes back to the court and play — until night time.”
When the younger Pascual started joining a neighborhood basketball league, it was then that Edmon saw how passionate his son is in the game of basketball.
“When he was 10, he started joining a tournament here in our neighborhood in Cainta. He was one of the key players of his team, then in one game, he got fouled out,” said the elder Pascual. “He ran out of the court and cried in frustration. It was then that I realized that his heart is truly in the game.”
That was the start of Pascual’s basketball journey.
He would become part of the champion teams of San Beda’s elementary team, joining in the SBP Passerelle tournament, and high its school squad. He won a championship two years ago, but last year at the height of COVID-19 pandemic, competitions were stalled until he graduated.
Pascual’s skill-set also earned him a spot with Batang Gilas, representing the country in major international tournaments and becoming co-captain of the squad along with Forthsky Padrigao.
One of their teammates is 7-foot-2 Kai Sotto, a standout of Gilas Pilipinas, who is now starting a pro career as member of the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian National Basketball League.
As for Pascual, he is just about to start his collegiate career as a freshman for the University of the East Warriors.
But even at the height of the pandemic, Pascual didn’t stop in trying to stay in shape and work on his craft, attending individual workouts with former PBA player Rob Labagala and doing extra shooting even with his dad, Edmon.
He wants to come out prepared once he takes his game to the next level.