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Fil-Norwegian Ken Holmqvist seizes the moment, vows to work harder



If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.

Far Eastern University Tamaraw’s Filipino-Norwegian big man Ken Holmqvist, even after a season in the UAAP, was an enigma for the majority of the collegiate basketball fans.

Standing at 6’8 the Davaoeño hardly played during FEU’s triumphant UAAP Season 78 campaign in logging in just a total of 28 minutes of court time during the season.

Signs of what he can be were shown during the Tamaraws’ second-round tilt against the De La Salle Green Archers. During that game, the younger of the two Holmqvist siblings played his season-high of 12 minutes and logged in six boards and two rejections, including a game-altering rejection of Jason Perkins that helped seal the game for the Morayta-based squad.

Last Thursday, with the core of the team graduating, Ken Holmqvist was plugged into the starting line-up of the Tamaraws as they faced the CESAFI Champions, University of San Carlos Warriors, for the 2015 National Collegiate Championship crown. The Fil-Norwegian was surprised of the decision to start him in saying, “I never know until coach Nash tells me.”

During the first half of the game, Holmqvist was spectacular in displaying great chemistry with 6’10 Cameroonian student-athlete Prince Orizu. Against USC’s Shooster Olago, arguably the best big man playing in the Cebuano collegiate ranks, Holmqvist put on a show in knocking down jumper after jumper. “Yeah I’m very surprised. I’m surprised that during the first quarter all my shots were going in,” he said about his spectacular performance.Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Fil-Norwegian Ken Holmqvist seizes the moment, vows to work harder

He was 8/8 from the field during the first half and ended the night with a double-double, 17 points and 11 boards, that paved the way for him to be crowned as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

“There’s potential in those kids. Si Ken, he showed his brilliance in the first half,” FEU head coach Nash Racela said about Holmqvist’s performance after the game. “Hindi pa lang sanay yung mga bata maglaro ng matagalan,” Racela jokingly added.

Racela then added that Holmqvist will be a great addition to the Gilas Program once his body and game matures. “He is a spread big. I think he will be of help with the Gilas program in the future. He’s a 6’8 guy who could shoot from the outside,” Racela shared. “He just needs to gain experience but we are happy with how he is developing.”

Upon hearing this, Holmqvist could not help but smile about the ceiling his mentor has put on him. “I like his confidence in me. I’m just going to keep working hard with him and he’s an amazing coach to learn from.”

The Fil-Norwegian, who revealed that he has secured his Philippine passport before the age of 16, vows that he will continue to work hard and improve on his game come next season. “I’m just continuing to work hard. That’s what I’m trying to work on, the toughness part (of the game),” he closed.

If Ken Holmqvist continues to develop at this pace, he, together with incoming senior Raymar Jose and foreign student-athlete Prince Orizu, will form one of the most imposing frontlines in the UAAP come Season 79.

Photos by Numark Toledo Cutaran