Sunriser Gian San Pascual plays to win

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UP Fighting Maroon Gian San Pascual, playing for Café Lupe, rises in the air primed for a middle assault. Looking on is fellow Sunriser and setter Jerahmeel Baldelovar. (Photo by Azcharey Cabrera)

“Anak, galingan mo lang.”

That’s what Gian San Pascual’s father, an electrician, always tells the youngest of his six children whenever the latter has a game.

The 20-year-old, five-foot-11 University of the Philippines Fighting Maroon and now Café Lupe’s middle blocker is taking his dad’s advice seriously.

“I take extra effort during training; I want to continue getting better in the sport I’m passionate about,” said he, a fourth-year Bachelor of Physical Education student. “I play to win and I hate to lose.”

Some defeats heavily weigh down on him. He is man enough to admit that sometimes he cries over crucial losses like the one the Fighting Maroons suffered at the hands of the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in an important game in the UAAP last season.

At play San Pascual always projects a picture of jolliness. A smile seems forever pasted on his intelligent face. He celebrates every point he or his teammate scores, running gleefully around their half of the court or trading exuberant high fives.

The opposition is well-advised not to be fooled by his exterior posture beneath which lies a warrior’s single-focused intent to slay those who stand in his way.

This very likable man of simple dreams has no plans of uprooting himself from volleyball for good.

“I will keep on playing for as long as I am able. When I graduate I will teach kids the value of physical fitness. I will teach and coach them to become at the very least competent volleyball players. I want them to experience the high of playing competitively. Iyan po ang simpleng pangarap ko sa buhay.”

He wants to make a good impression of himself in this, his first exposure in commercial volleyball.

The Premier Volleyball League, organized by Sports Vision in partnerships with Asics as official league partner and Mikasa as official game ball, is all the better for having players who truly love the sport like Gian San Pascual.

San Pascual showed his determination to shine early in life.

Playing for the Academy of God’s Children in San Mateo, Rizal, he would invariably be selected by the district champion teams of Concepcion Elementary School and later by Sta. Elena High School, where he said he met and became teammates with the prodigious Marck Espejo of triple UAAP titlist Ateneo, to proceed to the Rizal provincial meet.

He was personally recruited by coach Rod Palmero on the UP squad, becoming a key player of the Fighting Maroons who bagged the championship of the Philippine National Games in 2015 and the Inter-Collegiate crown the next year.

By the time he plays out his fifth year in the UAAP in 2019 yet, he shall have graduated from his Physical Education studies.

“I’m not grade-conscious, but I see to it that I pass all my subjects,” said this nice, young man who treasures his close affinity with his UP teammates. “Every semester I have new classmates. My teammates have been a constant presence in my life outside of my family. They have been more than friends to me, they are my second family.”



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