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Career interrupted: Arvie Bringas applies for PBA Draft

It was family and a small circle of tight and close friends who pushed Arvie Bringas (top left) to give that pro-basketball dream one more try.

MANILA, Philippines — Among the hopefuls who submitted their application for the upcoming PBA Draft is a curious name — Arvie Bringas.

Didn’t he apply for the draft before? A lot of his contemporaries went to the draft or made it? What happened to one of the most talented and ballyhooed players to come out of the high school ranks in the last 10 years and who sort of disappeared after his college career?

A lot of questions. Before we answer that, we have to look to where Arvie is now. The 6’5” cager and second of four children is back in his native Orani, Bataan. Back home with his family. There he helps the family business which is a meat dealership at the market. He raises cows and dogs — “buhay probinsya,” he simply describes.

Now 27 years old, he has been egged by older brother Mark, who plays for Cignal in the PBA D-League and is on the Meralco Bolts’ reserve team, as well as friends and family to make another go at an aborted basketball career.

Coming out of high school where he was a part of three-time San Sebastian Staglets champion teams, he looked to go to Ateneo but was pilfered away by La Salle — where much to everyone’s surprise, he left after a year. Arvie transferred to Far Eastern University where he teamed up with older brother Mark to give the Tamaraws a fearsome frontline. Except they ran into a Greg Slaughter-led Ateneo Blue Eagles side.

After his days in FEU, he played in the D-League for Big Chill and tried out for Mighty Sports and Hapee. However, a knee injury derailed whatever chances he had. Hugely disappointed and his morale in tatters, Bringas returned home.

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It is in Orani where he oft retreated when Arvie needed to clear his mind. Former high school teammate Ryan Buenafe said that Arvie always found solace in raising animals. Pigeons are something he found peaceful and relaxing.

He regrets the poor decisions he has made through the years. In some ways, he looks at the difficulties he’s faced as a form of karma.

“Nagkulang ako sa focus and decision,” he reflected.

In the vernacular, his disappointment was vivid: “I didn’t expect to lose the opportunities. I took things for granted.”

Not a day goes by where he is reminded of the game he grew up loving. If it isn’t on television, it’s online and on social media. And there is always the nagging reminder when people spot him at the market or in and around Orani. They see his height then recognize him.

“Didn’t you play for San Sebastian/La Salle/FEU?” they ask. Not necessarily in that order.

Humbled by everything that has happened, Arvie smiles and takes things in stride. He feels an equal amount of hurt and disappointment but he never lets on those feelings. No excuses. That was then and this is now.

Whatever the decisions he made, his family back in Bataan was there to pick him up.

“Malaki ang naitulong ng pamilya ko sa akin,” he said.

It was family and a small circle of tight and close friends who pushed him to give that pro-basketball dream one more try. Arvie knows it is more difficult now as he fell out of the spotlight and he’s up against a lot of talented youngsters looking to book one of the few slots available in the pros.

“Sa ngayon, naghahanda ako. Nagpapakundisyon. Jogging and gym at least three hours a day. Tapos laro,” he bared of his daily regimen.

“I hope to get a chance to show what I can do,” he said. He knows that coaches and basketball scouts and analysts will try to compare what he is now to what he had back then.

“At least may chance,” Arvie summed up.

Sometimes, that is all one can ever ask when pursuing one’s dreams. Even if it comes years too late.

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