VINCE Petdeo Cuajao will soon start a new chapter in his decorated amateur basketball career after ending his Holy Child College of Davao Red Eagles’ stint with a quarterfinals finish for Davao region in the recently-concluded Palarong Pambansa 2019 held in Davao City.
The 18-year-old native of Midsayap, North Cotabato, in a farewell message he posted on his Facebook last May 4, said, “Hindi man ayos ang akong exit pasalamat gihapon ko na napakita nako akong kaya sa inyoha.
Suportahan unta gihapun ko ninyo sa akong college career (My exit was not okay but I am still thankful that I was able to show what I can do. I hope you keep supporting me even in college). Jersey numbers 10 and 30 are now signing off.”
Vince, who plays the forward position, shared that he used to tell his mother that all he ever wanted was to play in the Palarong Pambansa and yet God gave him more what he hoped for. He represented Team Philippines twice to the Asean School Games and helped win the gold medal for the team last year.
In his three Palaro appearances, he powered the Davraa to a silver medal finish in Ilocos Sur last year.
HCCD head coach Nestor “Tating” Sorrosa, in an interview with SunStar Davao, said Cuajao’s departure will be a “great loss” to the Red Eagles, which he helped collect two Gaisano Grand Cup titles, three Davraa championships, Davao Pride Basketball crown, NBTC title and Champions League 3-on-3 champion’s trophy, among others. He also received a handful of MVP awards.
Vince said his family who keeps believing in him, especially his mother, inspires him to dream big in his sport.
“I remember all that my mother told me while she was still alive. I will fulfill all the dreams she had for me. What I’m doing is not for myself but for my family,” he told this writer in the vernacular.
He thanked coaches Sorrosa and Roger Rabago for discovering and honing his talents, which he first thought he never had.
He recalled starting from scratch, he had no money and no basketball knowledge but he only had the desire to play basketball. Oftentimes, he thought of going home to Midsayap as life was difficult in Davao City. His homesickness often left him crying at nights. The rigors of training at times wore him out.
“I chose to sacrifice and endure it all and everything paid off. I consider myself the most fortunate player in Davao that I landed at Holy Child,” he said, adding that he turned down offers before to transfer to other universities in Manila as he was thankful for the opportunities his alma mater provided him.
He, however, is still uncertain which varsity scholarship to accept.
Vince also reminisced his memorable experiences including a time in school when all varsity teams trained together, when fans ran after them while they were walking on a street during his first Davraa Meet in Mati City. “Murag mga artista (We were like celebrities),” he laughed.
In Ilocos Palaro, he cherished the first day game and the championship match as they battled their hearts out until the end despite playing against bigger and taller teams.
“And for our country, playing in Malaysia, the feeling ang pag-champion dala-dala ang bandera ng Pilipinas. Forever nako to ipagmalaki (I’ll forever take pride in it),” he added.
His high school journey was indeed colorful and meaningful but just like what he said on his post, #itsnotoveryet.