Cebuano hoops legend Gayford Rodriguez has finally gotten to live out his dream of playing professional basketball in the country with his current stint for the Tabogon Voyagers in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup.
Drafted 19th overall in the 2013 PBA Draft by the Rain or Shine E-Painters, the 6-foot-3 lefty never got to log a single second in Asia’s first pay-for-play league as he was released not long after. He later signed on to play for the Singapore Slingers in the ASEAN Basketball League and not long after, went on to live a nomadic life on the basketball circuit.
He later emerged to play in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, suiting up for the Manila Stars and later, his hometown Cebu-Casino Ethyl Alcohol, in 2018. He wasn’t often seen or heard from after that stint before coming back to the fore in the VisMin Cup where he has shone in the two games he has played.
Although he has been bothered by a groin and hamstring injury, Rodriguez has shown he can produce when he’s on the floor, with averages of 17 points, seven rebound and two assists for the Voyagers, who are contending for a spot in the semifinals in the Visayas leg.
For Rodriguez, this stint is a realization of his dream to play at the pro level here in the Philippines.
“Nalipay ko ug dako na nakaduwa ko ug pro level,” shared Rodriguez. “Naguol lang ko kay na-injure ko one week before magstart ang liga.”
A fan-favorite dating back to his days playing for the University of the Visayas in the Cesafi and then, M. Lhuillier, in several commercial leagues, Rodriguez put his versatility on display in Tabogon’s stunning 76-73 win over the ARQ Builders Lapu-Lapu where he tallied 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists, a steal and two blocks.
“Bisan in-ani nga sitwasyon, sige ka injury, dili nako pasagdan akoang sarili. Gusto jud ko muduwa kay talagsa ra kaayo ni nga opportunity,” shared Rodriguez.
The 35-year old also lauded organizers of the VisMin Cup for helping give players like him the chance to make a good living in spite of the ongoing pandemic.
“Para sa tanan player, dako kaayo ni ug tabang kay pandemic wala jud mi lain pangitaan,” said Rodriguez. “Nindot ni nga start namo kay isa ug tunga na ka tuig wala na duwa-duwa. Daku kaayo ko ug pasalamat sa VisMin Super Cup.” (JNP)