Batang Gilas star Padrigao shifts wings: From Baby Falcon to Blue Eaglet
MANILA, Philippines – He isn't a "baby" anymore.
Amid the talented players in the Batang Gilas pool, Forthsky Padrigao somehow finds a way to stand out in the SEABA Under-16 tournament.
During the Philippines' 113-46 thrashing of Thailand, Padrigao contributed 13 points, 8 steals, and 8 assists.
The playmaker's defensive efforts were also recognized in Batang Gilas' game against Indonesia where he chipped in 5 steals and 6 assists to go with his 4 markers.
In Batang Gilas' last match against Malaysia, Padrigao was a starter and played the longest at 35 minutes. He produced 5 points, 6 assists, and 11 boards.
"To play for my country is a privilege for me," said Padrigao. "I'll be qualified in the Under-16 tournament only once in my life and to top all of that, we are the host country. I'm very honored. I can't even believe it sometimes."
From the humble courts of Zamboanga to the international stage, Padrigao has undoubtedly attracted a lot of spectators.
He first caught the eye of the Adamson University Baby Falcons, but will have a different pair of wings soon – shifting to the Ateneo Blue Eaglets.
"I'm with Ateneo de Manila University now," confirmed Padrigao.
The next step
Padrigao began watching ball games with his dad when he was just 3 years old. He took up the sport and Ateneo de Zamboanga University later recruited him.
"I was 7 years old when I started really playing. Since I started early, I feel basketball just became a part of my life. I fell in love with the sport," Padrigao said.
At 12 years old, Padrigao was invited to play for the Baby Falcons. Accepting the offer, he said, has been his best and most challenging decision yet.
"It was hard to adjust during my first year [here in Manila]. The culture and people here are different. I also knew no one so it was really hard," shared the 15-year-old point guard.
After 3 years in Adamson, Padrigao received an invitation just this summer to join the Blue Eaglets. He accepted the offer and will be playing for the Blue and White in the next season of the UAAP.
"I don't just want to play for Ateneo. I also really want to study there so when the time comes when basketball doesn't work for me, I'll have a fallback," explained Padrigao, an incoming Grade 10 student.
He admitted switching schools was a difficult and painful choice.
"It hurt me to leave them (Baby Falcons). They also have a little grudge against me but I think it's going to be alright sooner or later," he said.
Like any other basketball player, Padrigao also dreams of making it to the PBA. But he also has one more goal. "I want to be an accountant just like my dad. I believe I could do both." – Rappler.com