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Diminutive Mike Gamboa pursues PBA dream one last time

PBA hopeful Mike Gamboa (left) with the author

Do dreams truly die?

For Mike Gamboa, he always wanted to play in the PBA. He first set his sights on the short terms goals – playing point guard for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets and then the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in the UAAP. But the poor showing of the latter especially in his final season made him decide to forego his dream.

This past year, Gamboa has been working for Taiwanese computer company ASUS. He was thinking of studying in the United States to take up his Masters in Business Administration when his father, Jojo, who once played for the Ateneo Blue Eagles, convinced him to give it one more try and apply for the 2014 Gatorade PBA Draft on August 24.

Following some reflection, Mike decided to give the dream one more try.

“I thought that it was over for me when it comes to competitive basketball. But I have one more itch to scratch. If I get drafted then it’s good. If not, then at least I can say to myself that I tried,” he reasoned out.

Standing a shade over 5’6”, Gamboa is already at a disadvantage in a sport that is increasingly ruled by the stratospheric.

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Furthermore, he is competing against 94 other hopefuls for extremely limited slots scattered across 12 PBA teams.

During Day One of the Gatorade PBA Draft Combine, the showcase for the applicants in front of the pro coaching community as well as the media and the fans, Mike got posted up immediately by the taller Harold Arboleda.

After his Team A’s scrimmage opponents, Team B, scored, Gamboa immediately redeemed himself by pilfering counterpart Franz Delgado’s pocket for an easy layup.

A few possessions later, Andrew Avillanoza drove hard at him sending Mike sprawling towards the baseline. He briefly looked up at the referee is he was going to call an offensive foul. When none was forthcoming, he quickly picked himself up and went back on defense.

He later drove hard and scored on an and-one underscoring his fearlessness in going up against the giants in the lane. Gamboa finished with five points, one rebound, one assist, and one steal versus two turnovers.

“It’s a challenge, no doubt,” quipped Mike after the end of the day’s session. He pronounced himself half satisfied with his performance. “I had not played in a while. So it really felt good to be out there. It’s still is a long shot to even get drafted.”

But he pointed out the achievements of Emman Monfort and Anjo Caram in the PBA. “All I need is a chance,” hoped Mike. “And I promise to do the best. But if not, at least I can say that I tried and will have no regrets. Life for me… goes on.”

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