FEU team captain a proud Dabawenyo

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Saturday, January 25, 2014


BASKETBALL has changed the life of a proud Dabawenyo Gryann Mendoza, the team captain of Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws.

Gryann was born on September 9, 1990 in Davao City. He was raised by his parents Graciano and Annalisa Mendoza. He has one sister named Anna Grace.

As a young boy, Gryann enjoyed playing basketball with his cousins and at the same time serving as an altar boy at a Catholic Church.

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“I always dreamed of becoming a priest to fully serve God but never did I know that God called me to do basketball,” he said.

Gryann played basketball during high school at Agro Industrial Foundation College and in college at the University of Mindanao (UM) Wildcats Team. But he never expected that a big leap will happen in his life.

The UM Wildcats team is playing at Cagayan de Oro City for the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL). Big names in the basketball industry were there. But after the game, “I was really nervous when Coach Glenn Capacio of FEU approached me and told me if I wanted to be a part of the FEU Tamaraws team. I was in awe and I could not believe what he said. I even told him, I am going to think it over first,” he said.

Gryann, being a second year college student at that time, was bothered about what Coach Capacio told him.

“I asked for advices from a lot of people and I got different reactions. Others told me to grab it and others discouraged me saying that I can’t survive the pressure there,” he said.

In 2009, Gryann grabbed the opportunity and transferred from UM to FEU. It was his first time to be away from his family.

“It was hard to be away from my family but for my dreams, tiyaga lang gyud,” he said.

The basketball training of the Tams is not easy. They have to train for three hours or more daily, to prepare for each battle. “It is not an ordinary training. You have to be physically, mentally, and emotionally ready. We were trained to compete among ourselves,” he said.

He also experienced a few setbacks in his career having been relegated on the bench during his second to third year at FEU.

He shared, “It is not that bad but I felt inadequate. But I am glad that during my fourth year, a big transition was made and I was chosen to become FEU’s team captain,” he said.

It was not easy to become a team captain as Gryann said. He has to put a lot of efforts especially in motivating other players to stay focused in the game. It was during his time as a team captain also that they were very close to making it into the UAAP Final Four but they were defeated by De La Salle Green Archers in a tight match.

“We were all emotional when we failed to enter the finals. Hilak gyud mi ug maayo pero that was all part of the game,” he said.

In his last year in FEU, Gryann has a lot of reasons to be thankful for. “I am happy to finish my four playing years without regret. FEU gave me many great experiences which I will never forget in my life."

He then thanked former UM coach Manny Nitoreda for permitting him to transfer at FEU, his parents and relatives for their untiring support, former Agro coach Mateo Cubero for discovering him, to his UM mentors and coaches Tata Banzali, Roy Joson, Manoy Conda, cousin Mark Lloyd Revilla, and God for all the blessings he received.

Gryann aims to join the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) through its rookie draft in August.

He also said that aspiring basketball players should never lose hope.
“Kung love nimo ang basketball, ayaw paminaw sa mga haters (If you love basketball, don't listen to negative criticisms). Just sacrifice and focus on your passion,” he added.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 26, 2014.

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