ANTIPOLO — JC Cullar and Jimboy Pasturan were able to come out of their shells in College of Saint Benilde.
Prior to settling in Taft, the two floor generals were part of two prominent UAAP schools with Cullar studying in University of the East and Pasturan studying in Adamson University.
But it was only in the Blazers that they were able to showcase what they can bring to the table.
“From what I learned from this team is that you work to be a good player, and a good person off the court; and with the coaches we have, they always emphasize being humble, being better people, being good people off the court,” said the 25-year-old Italy-born cager Cullar.
“Biggest lesson ko is naging more responsible, in terms of my teammates, and siyempre naging leader ako sa team. Naging more vocal as a player, and as a person naman,” added 25-year-old Cebuano Pasturan.
Cullar averaged 5.36 points, 4.64 assists, 3.82 rebounds, and 1.05 steals in his senior year while Pasturan put up numbers of 7.41 points, 2.73 assists, and 2.59 rebounds.
Their magical run though ended on Sunday at the Ynares Center here as defending champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran flaunted their vast experience over the young Benilde squad to take the NCAA title in Game 3.
The game marked the end of the duo’s collegiate careers.
“I’m not really sure, I’ve been talking with coach and there were talks about my future. But coach [Charles Tiu] and I always told each other to ‘talk about it after season,’ and we’ll see, we’ll see what’s really the best opportunity for me,” said Cullar.
“May plans naman, pero for now gusto ko lang mag pahinga muna. Maybe January pag decisionan ko. And for now, gusto ko lang mag spend ng time ng family ko, and siyempre sa teammates ko,” shared Pasturan.
But what they are hoping for is that like them, recruits would also consider going to Benilde one day.
After all, they are two perfect testaments of how Tiu’s program can bring out the best in an individual.
“Para sa akin… para sa team ko, proud ako; proud ako sa mga teammates ko, coaching staff, and sana, sana mabawi nila ‘yung [championship goal] para sa amin next season,” said Pasturan.
“I really hope kids coming off from high school will see that, and will recognize Benilde as a great program for the growth as basketball players, and as people. I can assure you,” said Cullar. “The coaching staff and the supporters and the sponsor won’t let you down; won’t leave you in the air. And whatever they could do to help you — they will.
“I just hope that more kids will come, and be interested; and be part of this program. And I can assure them that they’re gonna be better basketball players, but especially better people.”