Why Pasaol stuck to UE
Alvin Pasaol
Why Pasaol stuck to UE
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - July 1, 2020 - 12:00am

There were several high-caliber basketball players who almost suited up for La Salle but didn’t for one reason or another. James Yap, CJ Perez and Renzo Subido came close to becoming Green Archers and so did Ramon Fernandez once upon a time. One player who was courted by La Salle but didn’t enlist was former UE star Alvin Pasaol.

It was in 2016 when then La Salle coach Aldin Ayo invited Pasaol to join the Taft squad. Ayo took a trip to Davao City to meet with Pasaol in his hometown. Pasaol was entering his second year with the Red Warriors while La Salle was coming off a championship season. The 6-3 “Baby Tank” was flattered that Ayo reached out to him but politely turned down the invitation.

“UE ang kumuha sa akin galing Davao kaya malaking utang na loob ko sa UE,” said Pasaol. He played at the Assumption College of Davao in high school and a year at Holy Cross in college before coach Derick Pumaren took him to UE. “Tiwala ako kay coach Derick,” said Pasaol. “Marami akong natutunan. Si coach Derick, hindi lang basketball ang tinuturo kundi advice off the court sa buhay. Binigyan niya ako ng kumpyansa. Happy ako sa UE. ‘Yun nga lang, palaging kapos at kulang sa tao. Pukpok pa rin kami at never kaming sumuko.” His scoring average improved from 11 points to 17.3 to 24.4 in three years with the varsity. In 2017, Pasaol torched La Salle for 49 points, including 5 of 12 triples and 4 of 9 free throws. If he had converted one more foul shot, Pasaol would’ve hit 50.

Pasaol could’ve played another year in the UAAP but decided to forego his eligibility to try his luck in the PBA D-League, MPBL and Chooks To Go 3x3. He played three conferences in the D-League, two with Marinero and one with Petron-Letran as an “import.” In the MPBL last season, he was on the Zamboanga squad that made it to the Southern Division semifinal playoffs. Among his teammates were Santi Santillan, Harold Arboleda, Anton Asistio, Aaron Black and Hans Thiele.

Pasaol found his niche in 3x3 and last November, was on the Philippine team that swept the Jakarta Invitationals with Joshua Munzon, Santillan and Troy Rike. The Philippines beat Vietnam, 19-14, Malaysia, 21-17, Chinese Taipei, 21-10, and Indonesia twice, 21-13 and 21-17, to finish unscathed. As the country’s No. 2 ranked 3x3 player, Pasaol will join Munzon, CJ Perez and Mo Tautuaa in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Austria next May. Santillan and Karl Dehesa were named reserves. “Malaking bagay sina Kuya CJ at Kuya Mo kasi mga pro na sila,” said Pasaol. “Kung pumayag na ang gobyerno, sana makapag-practice uli kami ng buo para sa Olympic qualifiers.”

Pasaol said the Philippines will be competitive in its bracket in Austria. Slovenia, France, Qatar, Dominican Republic and the Philippines are in Group C in the 20-nation tournament. The top two in each of the four groups will advance to the eight-team KO quarterfinals then the four survivors play in the semifinals to determine the finalists. A playoff for third will be held with only the top three placers to earn Olympic tickets. “Slovenia ang mabigat na kalaban,” said Pasaol.  “Wala halos 3x3 participation ang France at baka kayanin natin.  Kung makalusot tayo sa France, Qatar at Dominican Republic, pasok tayo sa quarters.”

During the lockdown, Pasaol is safely confined in Sta. Maria, Bulacan with his girlfriend and 17-year-old brother John Rey who plays for the FEU juniors. He’s been staying in shape, doing exercises and drills and watching his diet. Pasaol has also done his share to help out frontliners in the fight against COVID-19. He owes his upbringing to his father, a former city hall employee and his mother, a housewife, in Davao.

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