LONDON -- I could not believe what my eyes were seeing on that lazy afternoon last month. I was surfing the Parasat Cable TV in my house during my recent holiday in Cagayan de Oro city when I caught the Philippine version of the NCAA over Balls channel.

There I was watching a future cage superstar from Cagayan de Oro city wrecking havoc on their opponents' defense with his high-flying basketball skills. There, for the first time, I saw Carlo Lastimosa playing for St. Benilde in the NCAA against the "import" laden Jose Rizal University.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

They say first impression is long lasting and my God I was impressed. So impressed I was that it inspired me to write my column again in this newspaper.

Carlo was a familiar high school basketball star in Cagayan de Oro city but nationally he was unknown until he suits up for the St. Benilde in this year's NCAA cage wars.

He was a star high school player of Xavier University and was recruited by Ateneo when he started his college years three years ago.

He played for the Ateneo team B varsity team earlier but as a 16-year-old, he found it very difficult to adjust to the life in the big city. He then decided to move to St. Benilde where he fitted in the system and his basketball skills got noticed.

I heard about Carlo from his father Danny, the former Mama's Love basketball team of Cebu banger. I was watching the Jolas Basketball Cup at the Xavier gym last year. I interviewed Danny about the Jolas Cup where he is the organizer.

The Jolas Cup is a project of his more famous younger brother Jojo Lastimosa every summer for the youth of Cagayan de Oro. It is Jojo's way of giving back something to his beloved place of birth.

That interview never came out and I apologize to Danny about that. However, during the interview I realize that Danny has a teenage son who plays ball. I never really paid attention about his son at first but he reminded me to watch out for him because he will be a star. I never forget what he told me and always waited for the time when his son would finally come out to carve a name for himself in the Philippine basketball wars.

And the time has come this year as Carlo is leading St. Benilde's charge in the NCAA. He is driving his defenders crazy and he is a leading contender for the Rookie of the Year Award. He is 6-foot-2 and he is very athletic with a nice shooting touch from inside and outside. He plays similar to his famous uncle Isabelo 'Jojo' Lastimosa, a PBA legend and now an assistant at the Alaska bench in the PBA.

Carlo does not like to be compared to his uncle because he wants to carve out a name for himself in the local cagedom. But who can you blame if he is as high-flying and athletic as his uncle. Carlo could slam dunk and so as Jojo during his college heydays.

I was a Jolas fan when he was strutting his wares in Cebu during the early 80's at my college alma mater the University of Sa Jose-Recoletos. We would skip classes to watch the Jaguars practice at the school's quadrangle every afternoon. They were then handled by the legendary and longtime M. Lhuillier

Jewelers mentor Raul 'Yayoy' Alcoseba.

Jolas led the Jaguars to their only National Inter-Collegiate title in 1984, where else but in Cagayan de Oro against the Samboy Lim-led Letran Knights.

In 1985, the year I started my college adventure in USJ-R I witnessed Jolas leading the Jaguars to a title-finish in the Cebu Amateur Athletic Association (CAAA) -- now known as Cesafi--against the Elmer 'Boy' Cabahug-led University of the Visayas.

That was the last time I saw Jolas play in Cebu. Although he still played for the Jaguars in the 1985 National Collegiate where they lost to Letran in the final, he then moved to Mama's Love in the Philippine Basketball League where his basketball legacy blossomed.

Carlo still has a long way to go. He is just starting his basketball career. His ambition is to have a good basketball career in the PBA. If that is the case then he has only one person to seek advice from. Uncle Jolas. God Bless.

jackbiantan@yahoo.com