During the 2018 collegiate season, the Enderun College Titans made waves in the NAASCU.
Aside from their women’s team, their men’s squad also made it to the finals. Helping in the huge turnaround for the upstart program was Valandre Chauca, a 5-foot-10 floor general, who previously played Division I squad California Golden Bears.
But Chauca’s journey to McKinley Hill almost did not happen, as he had been close to joining the De La Salle University Green Archers.
“At first, I was in talks to go to La Salle, but then I had to sit out a year. But I just turned twenty-four years old, so I didn’t want to wait for another year and have to play D-League again,” disclosed Chauca.
“That is why I decided to come here.”
And the Filipino-American guard had a tough road before he could return home.
After playing for two years in Cal, he suffered a broken wrist in his junior year that forced him out for the season. Then, in what was supposed to be his senior year, he was unceremoniously removed from the team.
In a report by California Golden Blogs, Chauca had battled depression throughout this ordeal. Though he was able to keep his scholarship and eventually graduate, he was away from the game he loved. So he could no longer afford to sit out another year when he arrived in the country.
Enderun, an institution situated in McKinley Hill, was the perfect place for him to rebuild himself.
“It’s been great.
“I got here August. It’s been a pretty smooth transition, especially in this area. Venice [Piazza] is like a beautiful area so it hasn’t been that difficult. My Tagalog has been a lot better. The basketball is a lot more different though. It’s much more physical and they let a lot of things go. Just adjusting,” expressed Chauca.
At first, he struggled to get back his form. But former FEU Tamaraw and current Enderun head coach Pipo Noundou always reminded him to let the game come to him – not the other way around.
Though the underdogs could not overcome the NAASCU powerhouse, the Titans proved that they can compete. Moreover, Chauca was able to regain his passion.
“I haven’t played for almost two years. I was injured during my junior year in Cal. In my senior year, I didn’t play. But throughout the NAASCU, I got my feel for the game back,” he reflected.
“During the Finals against Saint Clare, I averaged nearly thirty points, seven assists, and six rebounds and kept my turnovers pretty low. I did what I had I had to do.
“I love coach Pipo. He lets me play and has been a good mentor off the court. I’m just really happy to be here,” he added.
Now, Chauca will have a bigger stage to show what he can bring to the table, as FamilyMart-Enderun joins the PBA D-League for the first time in school history.
For him, this is his chance to prove that he is one of the brightest young prospects today.
“My goal after this D-League is to show that I’m one of the top young guards in the country.
“Hopefully, it gets me to the top 10 in the Draft. So, that’s my goal,” he shared.
More importantly, he will be entering this next stage with a clear mind and with no regrets.
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