Freeman Cebu Sports

“Don’t ever doubt yourself”

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — While his more popular teammates Mac Tallo and Zachy Huang are drawing much attention, another Cebuano cager in Arnold Dave Ando is silently hoping to make an impression playing before his home fans for the first time in nearly a decade.

The 6-foot-7 Ando, definitely a rising star in Philippine basketball, is part of the Manila Chooks team that will be seeing action in the hotly-anticipated 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3x3 World Tour Cebu Masters slated on October 1-2 at SM Seaside City.

His name many not ring a bell to some but the pride Barangay Luyang in San Remigio, north of Cebu is slowly but surely carving his own niche in Phl hoopdom.

Rising from his humble beginnings, Ando started flexing his hoop skills in inter-barangay tournaments in his hometown.

There, he was spotted by a friend of his father who then persuaded him to try his luck on a bigger league in the city. He did.

After a rigid tryout process, Ando made it to the Cebu Eastern College (CEC) Dragons high school varsity in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) way back in 2013. He was with the Dragons for only one year though as he was later on recruited by University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Baby Jaguars where he suited up for three years until he finished senior high school.

Seeing his potential, Ando was acquired by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in the UAAP under the guidance of coach Aldin Ayo in 2017. He played for three seasons with the Growling Tigers where he sharpened his ability as a big man with outside shooting.

Last July, Ando decided to forego his remaining years of eligibility with UST to join the well-established Chooks 3x3 program upon the prodding of coach Ayo.

It did not take long for Ando to love and enjoy the fast-aced, high-octane 3x3 brand of play.

“Na-interesado ko sa 3x3 kay ganahan ko nga naa tay bag-o nga makat-onan,” said Ando. “Nindot kaayo ang intensity sa duwa sa 3x3. Lisud pero maoy nakanindot kay motaas gyud ang level sa imong duwa ug ma-improve ang imong basketball IQ.”

In his first 3x3 stint with Manila Chooks, they made it to the semifinals of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 International Standalone Quest in Laguna last week.

As he braces for his next challenge, the 23-year Ando is very excited but pressured a bit to show his stuff before his fellow Cebuanos.

“Siyempre excited kaayo ko moduwa before sa akoang mga kababayan. Gusto sab nako i-prove nga worthy nga maapil ani nga team. Maningkamot lang ko ug ihatag ang akong 100 percent best in every game,” Ando said.

Coming from a bucolic barangay in faraway northern town of Cebu, Ando had really gone a long way.

And he has a sage advice to the young aspiring ballers who want to follow in his footsteps.

“Para niadtong mga batan-on gikan sa probinsiya sama nako, paningkamot lang gyud. Ayaw kawala og paglaum sa inyohang mga pangandoy ug apili og ampo pirme sa Ginoo kay diha ta niya nagkuha og kusog. Ayaw i-doubt inyo kaugalingon kon gusto mo molampus sa kinabuhi,” Ando ended.


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