Clint Escamis ecstatic to suit up for UE in UAAP
Clint Escamis with the Mapua Red Robins in high school
Instagram/Clint Escamis
Clint Escamis ecstatic to suit up for UE in UAAP
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - August 21, 2020 - 11:28am

MANILA, Philippines — It looks like Clint Escamis’ dream of playing in the UAAP will just have to wait a bit more.

This past UAAP Season 82 was supposed to be his rookie year with the University of the East Red Warriors, but he was out of commission after a knee injury sidelined him for Games Two and Three of the NCAA juniors finals, where his Mapua Red Robins emerged triumphant.

Escamis helped Mapua to two NCAA high school championships in three years. 

The 5’11” guard was recruited by several schools but quite a few shied away after his knee injury. UE, under then coach Joe Silva, was persistent, and Escamis joined the Red Warriors, albeit while recovering from knee surgery.

“I was playing hurt from the time we played La Salle in the second round to the finals,” recalled Escamis. “I didn’t think it was serious until the pain forced me to take a MRI.”

He is all better now and has been able to do active scrimmaging as early as January of this year. However, with the ongoing pandemic, Escamis will have to wait a bit longer for him to make his debut with UE. 

When he led Mapua to the inaugural NCAA 3x3 finals, he got injured foreshadowing his fate later than season. Unlike his Red Robins teammates who lost in the 3x3 finals, his teammates got the job done in five-on-five basketball. 

If his injury has taught him anything, it is to be patient. Losing to LSGH in the finals of NCAA Season 93 has taught him not to take things for granted. That served as motivation and to take a more active role in leadership heading into Season 94. 

And this pandemic has given him more time to strengthen his knee and work on his conditioning. Furthermore, it has been a time for reflection.

Had Escamis stayed in Mapua along with some other teammates like Jhonnel Policarpio (La Salle) and Will Gozum (UP then College of St. Benilde), they would undoubtedly be a powerhouse squad ready to seriously compete for the NCAA seniors chip.

“I think about it,” admitted the 19-year-old Escamis of the scenario where of staying with Mapua. “That was a very good team that was built by our coach, Randy Alcantara (who is now the seniors head coach). But my dream was really to play for a UAAP school.”

Escamis shared that growing up, he followed the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ Kiefer Ravena who he calls his idol. There was a window where Mapua could have kept him, but nothing happened. 

The youngster surveyed his options and UE was the best option in terms of opportunity and a fresh start. “I look forward to playing for a veteran coach in Jack Santiago, who has learned from one of the best coaches in Franz Pumaren. We’re building on last year’s campaign and hopefully, when college basketball is allowed to be played, we can get back on track.”

As for the pandemic?

“I’ve waited. What’s a few more months,” said Escamis with a smile. 

BASKETBALL UAAP
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