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Felicilda, Torres know leaving NU, joining UP were risks


University of the Philippines had a loaded lineup last UAAP season. But the reigning champions are not resting on their laurels.

When the Diliman-based side debuted in the PG Flex-UBCBL Invitational Tournament against Philippine Christian University on Tuesday, there were two additional names that stood out as they came on as a surprise.

Social media went abuzz when the cat — or dogs, shall we say — went out of the bag that former National University standouts Reyland Torres and Janjan Felicilda were in the lineup and, consequently, were able to play for the Fighting Maroons.

Both Felicilda and Torres were nothing short of excited to be given this ‘second chance’ back with their family. A family that includes coach Goldwin Monteverde, Carl Tamayo, Harold Alarcon, Gerry Abadiano, Cyril Gonzales, and Terrence Fortea.

2022-UCBL-UP-vs-PCU-Reyland-Torres Felicilda, Torres know leaving NU, joining UP were risks Basketball News UCBL UP  - philippine sports news“Siyempre, sobrang saya,” the 6-foot-1 Torres said.

“Kasi, magkakasama kami ulit parang ‘yung family na nabuo namin sa Bullpups, sa high school parang nabuo ulit; parang naging buo ulit. Parang naging masaya ako dahil dun.”

2022-UCBL-UP-vs-PCU-Janjan-Felicilda Felicilda, Torres know leaving NU, joining UP were risks Basketball News UCBL UP  - philippine sports news“Masaya po, siyempre, nakasama ko ulit ‘yung mga kasama ko, lalo na sila Gerry, Harold, Cyril,” the 5-foot-7 Felicilda added.

“Siyempre, nakasama ko na rin uli si Coach Gold, sobrang saya po sa pakiramdam.

That excitement was evident on the court as the two former Bulldogs also produced quality minutes for their new team in their first game in a Maroons uniform.

Torres ended up with five points, four rebounds, two assists, and a steal, along with lots of the intangibles on the court in his 19 minutes on the floor in UP’s 102-73 win over PCU. This is something he wanted to bring from Jhocson to Diliman.

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He said, “Siguro, ma-expect ng UP sa’kin tiyaka ‘yun ngang team is siguro yung defense and hustle, tiyaka score. Alam ko naman sa sarili ko kaya ko naman umi-score, pero una pa rin ‘yung defense, tiyaka sa hustle. ‘Yun lang at gagawin ko lahat para sa team.”

For his part, Felicilda also stood his ground as an able backup point guard to JD Cagulangan and finished his debut with two points, four rebounds, two assists, and one steal in his 10 minutes of action.

The road back to their family was not as easy as it seemed as Torres shared that leaving their home was a difficult decision.2022-UCBL-UP-vs-PCU-Goldwin-Monteverde Felicilda, Torres know leaving NU, joining UP were risks Basketball News UCBL UP  - philippine sports news

The guard out of Bago City, Negros Occidental Torres admitted, “Siguro nung una bago ako umalis sa NU, parang nag-dadalawang isip din ako. Kasi, siyempre, mahal ko rin ‘yung NU. Dun din kasi ako nag grow as a player, as a person, and nag baka sakali rin ako kay Coach Gold kung puwede ako sa kanya mag-tryout parang ganon.

“Thankful po, kasi si Coach Gold, kasi parang nakita niya ako na puwede pa ako idagdag sa team nila, and ‘yun thankful ako nadagdag ako sa team.”

Felicilda echoed the same sentiment but added that he knew deep inside that coach Monteverde had their backs whatever the case may be.

“‘Yun lang parang nag tiwala lang naman ako kay Coach Gold. Kasi ‘yun nga kahit anong mangyari nandiyan naman siya para sa’min ‘yun lang po,” the Bayugan, Agusan Del Sur native said.

Now that Torres and Felicilda had donned the maroon and green (and black), they bring with them what they have learned from coach Goldwin, which is something the Fighting Maroons have done and plan to do in the years to come.

“Yun nga, ‘yung sabi ni Coach Gold, yung sinasabi niya sa’min na, ‘Kahit gaano kahirap, patuloy lang po lumaban sa buhay.'”

And Torres and Felicilda were happy to see that “never give up” mentality with their new family in UP.

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“Sobrang saya. Kasi, sa mga teammate ko ang sarap sa pakiramdam na makasama sila ulit, tapos ‘yun nga sobrang talented nung team. ‘Tas di sumusuko, ‘yun ‘yung masarap na pakiramdam,” Felicilda shared on his first dibs as a Fighting Maroon.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.


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