HARD WORK, WORK HARD. Sidney Onwubere has come a long way from his humble beginnings in Laguna.
Emilio Aguinaldo College was one of the darkhorses coming into the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Instead, that darkhorse limped its way throughout the tournament.
“Siguro, ‘di para sa amin kasi na-injure si [Hamadou] Laminou tapos si Juju [Bautista] injured his shoulder,” team captain Sidney Onwubere said. “In this year’s campaign, ang daming struggle, ang daming injury.”
Laminou suffered an ACL tear in his right knee after five games while Bautista found himself out of action due to a shoulder injury in the middle of the second round.
With his running mate in Laminou out for the season and their emergent force in Bautista sidelined during the stretch run, Onwubere was forced to do much heavy lifting for the Generals.
That still wasn’t enough as they ultimately finished the season at 7-11 – only good enough for the seventh spot.
Of course, the Filipino-Nigerian was nothing but disappointed at how his last go-round in San Marcelino turned out. “Nalulungkot talaga ako na ‘di na namin maa-achieve yung Final Four. Sabi ko nga (sa teammates ko), iiwanan ko ang EAC na parang same standing when I started playing for EAC,” he said.
He then continued, “’Di nakapasok sa Final Four, pero buti ngayon, naka-angat sa seventh.”
In his four years in the NCAA, he played for an EAC team that compiled a 19-53 win-loss record.
While he fell short in lifting his squad out of the bottom half of the standings, Onwubere more than lifted himself onto the top tier of talents. “Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila, ako, I was known as a defensive player, pero malaki maa-achieve kapag masipag. Yung hard work, yun yung gusto kong ipasa sa kanila e,” he said.
He then continued, “Lagi kong pinapaalala, talagang pag nagtrabaho kayo, maraming mangyayaring maganda.”
Indeed, once known as a hustle player, the six-foot-four forward is now, more or less, a complete player with per game counts of 16.1 points, including a total of 33 triples, 11 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.4 blocks in his last season as a General. “As you can see, ako, nag-work ako from nothing to something. Ngayon, tumitira na ako ng three-points, talagang nag-develop ang game ko,” he said.
He then continued, “It’s all about hard work.”
Now, Onwubere will only continue working on his game as the first round pick, eighth overall, of the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
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