VINCE Petdeo Cuajao’s late mother Janette was a huge University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers fan, thus, it had more weight on his choice to recently accept the latter’s varsity scholarship offer.
“First of all, dream school jud nako siya Ma’am ug idol sa akong Mama ang UST. Ginatan-aw jud niya UST sa TV. Gwapo kaayo ilang offer tapos naa pud didtoa akong course Ma’am (It’s my dream school and my Mama idolizes UST and often watched them play on TV. They had a great offer and my course is there),” Deo, as he is known to many, told SunStar Davao in a Facebook interview while he was visiting UST last weekend.
The 18-year-old player confirmed that the scholarship grant included free full tuition, free board and lodging and allowances. He plans to take a Marketing course.
When prodded, he bared that Mapua University and Adamson University also offered him scholarships.
His mother’s influence in his basketball career started way back on sixth grade when he was accepted to join a basketball team in a public school in Midsayap, North Cotabato.
The Asean Schools Games gold medal performer recalled how he, younger brother Ian and mother were the only ones who returned to Midsayap while his father Doreteo, Ate Candy and Kuya Alfoi were left in Bohol as they had no fares to go home at that time. Several months later, the Cuajao family was reunited at their grandmother’s home, which he said was so small for them.
“Ang pinaka dili nako malimtan kay bisag wala mi kwarta maningkamot gihapun siya na mapalitan niya mig Cherifer hehehe tas ginasukat niya taga bulan among height ni Ian (What I couldn’t forget was how mother would find means to buy us Cherifer and she measured our height every month),” Deo shared.
His mother, however, was diagnosed with breast cancer and eventually succumbed to it. Deo, who steered Davao region to a silver finish in the 2018 Palarong Pambansa in Ilocos Sur, said her mother used to tell them she will endure the pains of her illness so her children would reap all the blessings.
The many-time most valuable player (in most of the local, regional and national tournaments he joined) helped Holy Child College of Davao Red Eagles clinch two Gaisano Grand Cup titles, three Davraa championships, Davao Pride Basketball crown, 2019 NBTC League National Finals title and Champions League 3-on-3 champion’s trophy, among others.
But his move to UST for a UAAP debut will separate him and his brother who is also a high school varsity player at HCCD. “Grabe na gani ang hilak nya (He’s already been crying so much),” he said.
He looks forward to playing in the UAAP under coach Aldin Ayo.