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At just 23 years old, Fil-Am guard Remy Martin has been through a lot in his young basketball career.
He has spent four years in the US NCAA’s Arizona State, withdrawn from the 2020 NBA Draft to play out his senior season, went undrafted in the 2021 draft without terminating his college eligibility, and has now transferred to the University of Kansas Jayhawks for a fifth NCAA season.
Despite all the ups and downs so far to what is still a very promising career, the one thing Martin has not changed apart from his drive to excel is his pride to represent his Filipino heritage wherever his basketball journey takes him.
“I just want to show people that the Filipino heritage is here, that they can play at the highest level,” he told The Kansas City Star. “I’m not the tallest guy. I’m not the most athletic guy, but I love the game, and I’m here now.”
“In some people’s minds, I made it. In the Filipinos’ minds, because there’s not too many people that can play at this level that are Filipino, I just give them hope,” he continued.
It’s not mere lip service for fans with the 6-foot guard either, as he has continually expressed his desire to suit up for the Gilas Pilipinas national team in any tournament.
Unfortunately, like the ever-controversial case of reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson, Martin’s eligibility as a local player has been shut down by the FIBA rule requiring players to secure their passports before the age of 16.
Martin, who has roots in Pampanga through his mother Mary Ann Macaspac, barely missed that deadline, as he acquired his Philippine passport after he turned 16.
Until that rule is changed by the top basketball governing body, the four-star recruit can only play as a naturalized player, and would have to take the spot usually reserved for taller players which the Philippines always needs like Ange Kouame and Andray Blatche.
Nevertheless, Martin has made it clear from day one: He is proud to be a Filipino, and is always ready to suit up for his country the moment the opportunity presents itself.
“What I always wanted to do was to represent another country at a sport that they love. They love basketball, they love watching, they love everything about the game,” Martin said in an Instagram video last year.
“It’s a privilege to go out there and play the game that you love, especially at this level, and I’m just trying to help.”
For now, he will continue to work for his ultimate dream destination, the NBA, like many others before him.
After averaging 19.1 points, 3.7 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals in his final year at Arizona, Martin believes he can bring that same energy to Kansas, one of the US’ most prestigious college basketball programs.
“I think just my energy on the court speaks for itself,” he said. “My genuine love for the game just kind of takes over my body, and I just wanna win.”
“The people here have been treating me so well, and I just want to make people proud,” he continued. “I want to be proud wearing this jersey. I want to make history. I want to continue the legacy that the people before me have done.” – Rappler.com