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Bogs Adornado’s son dreams of new era for sports medicine

Being the son of a PBA legend who defied numerous injuries in his playing career, Joma Adornado knows exactly how life after sports can be both frustrating and tormenting on one’s body. 

Just days after passing this year’s physician licensure examination, Adornado was back at the hospital and spoke to Rappler while waiting for his dad Bogs, who underwent a shoulder surgery. 

“I've seen him and the afterlife [of sports], the pitfall, you really get stuck in it,” recalled Adornado on why he decided to become a doctor instead of pursuing basketball. 

“As a player, you have nowhere else to turn to but basketball, so you become a coach, and I took a step back thinking of what I can provide for my future.” 

A former Ateneo Team B player, Adornado also dealt with his own injuries while playing the sport. His studies in med school fueled his dream of trailblazing a new era of sports medicine in the country. 

“I want to do rehab medicine, stay relevant in sports,” said Adornado. "I want to be a sports doctor.” 

“With my knowledge from being an athlete and my knowledge as a doctor, it's all connected now that I understand it at a higher level and I want to explain that to people.” 

Adornado wants to promote a holistic approach to sports medicine that would target conditioning, nutrition and rehabilitation. For him, it’s totally different from the current one-size-fits-all approach being practiced in the Philippines. 

Even while he was an aspiring doctor, Adornado and his friends in med school have been running an Instagram account Renaissance Athletes since 2017, which aims to provide science-based fitness tips and explanations. 

With the sudden surge of content from fitness “influencers” and “bloggers” during the pandemic, the Renaissance Athletes squad also released its own episodes centered on training during quarantine.

“Because there are a lot of lies on the internet now, [we just want to] put people in the right direction,” explained Adornado on why they turned to social media. 

“A lot of people go to me and ask: ‘Why am I gaining weight with this diet?’ It’s because they’re following the wrong things, and I feel bad for them because these are people who want to change their lives – they're paying money, they're spending their time without anything in return.” 

Twists and turns

Adornado first considered pursuing medicine from the little jokes he heard before entering his 4th year in college. 

“I have two kabarkada (good friends) whose parents are doctors, and they were joking around with me: ‘Mag-doctor ka na lang! (Just be a doctor!)and it got me thinking," recalled Adornado.

That small encounter was so pivotal for the BS Communications Technology Management graduate as he decided to take prerequisite subjects for med school. 

But Adornado admitted decisions were more difficult when it came to the sport he grew up with. 

Initially, there was pressure from his father Bogs – a three-time Mr Basketball Player of the Year and three-time PBA MVP – as the sport legend pushed him to try out for the PBA D-League in his 5th year. 

Adornado, who never made the cut for the UAAP squad, was drafted in the PBA D-League, but eventually left the developmental league when he received encouragement that he may be given a slot in Team A in his 6th year. 

“Slowly, I started not to like basketball and I quit the team. But right after that, I was accepted to University of Santo Tomas (UST) med school,” shared Adornado on his turnaround. 

Bogs also completely supported his son's decision on choosing a different path from him.

Despite going all-in in his new dream, Adornado did not completely say goodbye to basketball and sports. 

He was part of the UST Palarong Medisina basketball and track and field teams, and competed against UAAP schools like Ateneo and University of the Philippines. 

The sportsman also shared that his mentality as an athlete helped him overcome failures and challenges in med school. 

“In medicine, you will fail a lot of tests. [In my basketball career], I’ve lost so many games, I’ve lost so many championships, so I’m used to moving on. You can’t let one bad exam affect the next,” said Adornado. –

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.