NU's John Lloyd Clemente finally gets to live his dream
MANILA, Philippines – When the NU Bulldogs opened their UAAP Season 81 campaign this weekend, one of the storylines was how the team's prized rookie John Lloyd Clemente would perform under the bright lights of college basketball.
Clemente, who also played high school ball for NU in the UAAP juniors ranks, sat out last season but finally made his much awaited debut for National U where he chipped in 6 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists against UST on Saturday, September 8,
For Clemente, seeing action in the UAAP seniors division felt like a dream coming to fruition.
"Noong una, noong nasa province pa ako, ito 'yung dream ko eh, kasi napapanood ko 'yung UAAP," said the Pampanga native.
"Pero ngayon may pressure ako mag laro pero 'yun, relax lang. Kung anong matutulong ko talaga sa team gagawin ko."
(When I was in the province, this was my dream, because I used to watch the UAAP. Now there's a little pressure but I'm just relaxed. I'll do whatever I can to help the team.)
In his high school career with the Bullpups, Clemente helped lead the team to a championship and was named to the Mythical Team twice.
In his final season, he averaged 14.8 points and 7.6 rebounds a game. Many have said that the 6-foot-3 wing player has always had the body and game for the college level.
His coach, Jamike Jarin, has said that Clemente is one of the best wingmen out of high school.
"Para sa akin hindi pressure 'yun. Motivation ko 'yun kasi coach ko 'yung nagsabi na ako daw pinakamagaling na wingman from high school. Gagawin ko 'yung expected niya," said Clemente.
(For me that's not pressure, it's motivation because my coach was the one who said that. I'll do what he expects of me.)
Clemente also shared how he has built a bond with his head coach, whose tutelage extends beyond the four corners of a basketball court.
"Si coach Jamike strict siya sa training pero sa labas ng court sobrang bait ni coach Jamike. About sa family, nagbibigay din siya ng mga guide sa amin. About sa studies namin, 'yun, gina-guide niya kami every single day," explained the NU rookie.
"Like sinasabi niya lang, 'Pumasok kayo,' kasi importante sa amin 'yung school namin dito… kasi pag di ka kasi pumasa dito di ka din makakalaro kaya kailangan mo mag-aral talaga."
(Coach Jamike is strict with training but outside the court he's very nice. He gives advice about family and he guides us with our studies every day. He tells us to go to classes because studies are important here… if you don't pass, you won’t get to play.)
Clemente has already shown glimpses of his potential by topscoring for NU in a few of their preseason games.
He also explained that despite the hype surrounding his first campaign, he plans to just enjoy the ride rather than thinking too much about the pressure.
"Para sa akin masaya, enjoy lang every day kasi, 'yun, kung yung pressure dadalhin mo sa sarili mo walang mangyayari sayo. Dapat i-enjoy mo lang kung mabigat man kalaban niyo, kung mahina kalaban niyo, kailangan enjoy lang every game."
(I just want to enjoy every day, because if you keep the pressure with you nothing's going to happen. You need to enjoy the games regardless of how good your opponent is.)
By the looks of things, NU fans will also enjoy watching him play. – Rappler.com