‘No Fear’ Maloloy-on relishes tag as ‘Dennis Rodman of Cebu’
Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - July 4, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Coming from a poor family in Polomolok, South Cotabato, basketball is more than a sport for  ex-University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers All-Star forward Gabriel ‘No Fear’ Maloloy-on.

He sees it as a ladder to a better life.

Maloloy-on said he was inspired to play hoops to get free college education through athletic scholarship as his own way of helping ease out the financial burden of his parents.

That golden opportunity came when Maloloy-on’s talent was spotted by Hermes Sumalinog, then connected with UV’s coaching staff, while he played for Region XI in the 1995 Palarong Pambansa in General Santos City.

“I was told by coach Hermes Sumalinog to try it out with UV in 1996 and I did,” recalled Maloloy-on. “I was fortunate enough that of the many who tried it out, I was the only one who made it.”

Maloloy-on’s two-year stint in green and white jersey was unforgettable with back-to-back championships under his belt.

He was part of the 1996 UV Lancers squad that swept the titles in all tournaments they joined that year including the Cebu Amateur Athletic Association (now the CESAFI), the Inter-Collegiate Zonals, and the prestigious National Inter-Collegiate Championships.

“I think no team has ever broken that record until now,” said Maloloy-on. “Like the rest of my teammates, I take pride for that historic feat we achieved.”

 The following year, aside from defending their CESAFI throne, they topped the Palarong Pambansa then vaulted Cebu to the basketball crown of the 1997 Philippine National Games (PNG). At that time, he was already playing alongside his first cousin Bruce Dacia.

After his UV tour of duty, Maloloy-on had plenty of experience in Cebu’s commercial circuit playing for Hapee Toothpaste, Osaka Iridology, Chowking, Sunspride, Western Union, and M. Lhuillier.

He also suited up for Hapee Toothpaste in the Philippine Basketball League (now the PBA D-League), and with the Negros Slashers and the Davao Eagles in the now defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA).

He may not be an explosive scorer but Maloloy-on has left a mark for his fierce defensive and rebounding skills. Talking about defense, any team can always count on him.

A fearless enforcer at the shaded lane, Maloloy-on doesn’t back down if you try to mess up with him inside the playing court. He’s known for his physical and rugged plays that earned him the nickname ‘No Fear’ and the “Dennis Rodman of Cebu”.

“He’s my ultimate idol. I really like the way he plays. I am actually proud to be known as the ‘Dennis Rodman of Cebu’,” said Maloloy-on, referring to the NBA’s certified ‘Bad Boy’ who won six championships with the Chicago Bulls under the leadership of Michael Jordan in the 1990s.

Tough guy as he may seem in the eyes of others, Maloloy-on said he knows his limits as a defense-oriented cager.

“It is really my mindset to be a defensive player at all times,” said Maloloy-on.”No one can teach me about my style. It’s only me who knows what I’m going to do or what I decide to do to my opponent. Maybe I’m just gifted to become a defensive player.”

“Physical game is really my favorite, but I know when I will do it. It must be for a winning cause and not on a losing end,” added Maloloy-on. “There are a lot of physical players but they don’t know how to make their team win. As for me, I’m doing that because I wanted my team to win the game. That’s what separates me from the others.”

To the younger generation of players, Maloloy-on has something to say.

“Always be calm and always be humble on the court. Always show respect to your coach,” shared Maloloy-on. “Learn to play basic, be patient, know your opponent, and always pray to God.”

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