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The lonely Vigil along España: UST captain Louie Vigil talks about this season of discontent

MANILA, Philippines – If you talk to the University of Santo Tomas' Louie Vigil, probe deeper into his soul, he'll tell you maybe the world is conspiring against him. 

Coming out of high school, he was a blue chipper; one who scored a ton of points for the Jose Rizal University Light Bombers. In college, he went to La Salle, found himself miscast there and transferred to UST. He helped the team to two finals appearances, both of which ended up in the worst heartache possible, and in between he sat out a year due to academic problems.

Just a few months ago, on the eve of his final college season, Vigil was told that he couldn't play because the league decided to lower the age eligibility. Then a week or so later, it was rescinded and he was back in the lineup.

"It is annoying," said Vigil with a contemptuous tone of the seemingly never-ending drama that surrounds his playing career. "It's like they are toying with my emotions and my mind."

"When you're close to the end (of your college playing days), everything happens fast and you want them to go a little slower so you could savor them. But they slip away fast. Hopefully, something good comes out."

Any talk about the new season for the UST Growling Tigers means one has to inevitably recall the failures of seasons past. "There’s no hiding from it," said Vigil. "Let's admit it, there's talk. Too much talk."

Vigil admitted he's heard all the talk about teammates dropping matches on purpose and some such.

"We've come close to winning it all on two occasions in my time in UST," he mused, using his fingers to indicate the mere inches his school has been so close to cage glory. "I hear them even when you don't want to. You have classmates and friends come up to you and ask if it is true. I really don't know. All I know is it hurts."

He stews on that for a few moments. Maybe he has for the past few months. He'd like to, on the other hand, focus on the here and now. 

Vigil is this year's captain for the Growling Tigers and he intends to make it count. If possible, he wants to go out in a blaze of glory.

"Everyone is saying we're not going to win anything; we'll be at the bottom of the standings, and so on. I think it's good because one, there are fewer expectations and maybe we can come in and steal games from them. I also think it's bad because I really want to win. My teammates and I want to win. We want to do this for the school, my teammates, and myself," he said.

"I tell my younger teammates not to pay any attention to the negative talk. That isn't going to help us. What we can do is work hard during practice and come out and play the game. And as captain, I will do what I can and everything that I can."

Does he have any regrets about the choices he's made in the past few years? "No," he said, shaking his head. "None. You have to live with your choices and make the most of them."

Like this season.

He stews on it for a moment to measure and find the right words.

Louie Vigil nods. 

"Like this season." – Rappler.com