Kean Baclaan was supposed to be the next great point guard to play for University of Santo Tomas.
However, things did not go to plan for the Growling Tigers’ program. While the former San Sebastian High School and De La Salle Zobel standout made waves for the Espana school in pre-season tournaments, he shocked the collegiate landscape by committing somewhere else — enrolling at National University.
But for Baclaan, there was no added motivation against UST. All he wanted was to bounce back from the 77-60 beatdown they received from Ateneo last Wednesday.
“Sa panalo po kase, talagang iniisip namin mag bounce back kase last game namin sobrang sama ng laro namin. Kumbaga hindi yun yung game plan namin para sa larong yan,” said Baclaan, who was held down to just seven points by the Blue Eagles. “After ng against Ateneo, talagang binitawan na namin yun at nag-focus talaga kami sa game namin today. Siguro sa ano, hindi ko naman iniisip yun eh.
“Sabi nga nila Coach Jeff [Napa], wag ko daw isipin yung laging tumitira, yung ganung laro. Wag ko daw hanapin, kusang darating. Yun naman. Sobrang nakakatuwa.”
Just like any player who faces his former team, there will always be something special about the game.
Amidst the fanfare, though, Baclaan did not allow the occasion to get to his head.
“So far naman po – wala. Talagang naglaro lang talaga ako. Nag-focus lang ako,” said the 5-foot-8, barrel-chested guard.
“Hindi ko inisip na dati ko silang kakampi o kasama. Talagang nag-focus lang ako sa laro kase kailangan talaga naming manalo.”
While the UST community can only lament what might have been if Baclaan stayed, coach Jeff Napa and the rest of NU know that they have a rough diamond in their hands.