Of the seven student-athletes that were cut by the Ateneo de Manila University last 2016, John Apacible has been the missing man.
All the other six former Blue Eagles have been able to move on, and have become vital cogs in their new homes.
CJ Perez was the student-athlete that helped turn the fortunes of the Lyceum Pirates; Clint Doliguez and Kemark Carino were given roles in the San Beda Red Lions’ back-to-back campaign; Arvin Tolentino and Hubert Cani helped ease the transition of Olsen Racela with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws; while Jerie Pingoy has become the ace point guard of the Adamson University Soaring Falcons.
Apacible’s journey took a different turn, however, as he tried to return to Ateneo by lifting his grades in a college in Marikina.
“Pinag-aral ako ng Ateneo sa Marikina. Nakabalik na ko sa kanila last sem. Pero yung first sem ko nun hindi pumasa kaya lumipat na ko,” the 6-foot-4 tenacious rebounder recalled.
But Apacible did not let his head drop, deciding to move to Lyceum of the Philippines University. He made his Pirates debut last April 21 during the 2018 SMART City Hoops Under-25 Summer Classic.
Though not in his peak physical condition, his basketball IQ that made him a blue chip recruit years ago is still there.
“Sa una mahirap kasi two years ako nawala sa sistema. Lalaro lang sa labas. So ngayon, kakabalik ko lang,” shared Apacible, as he serves his one-year residency. “Nagpapasalamat ako sa Lyceum dahil binigyan nila ako ng chance na makalaro sa kanila.
“So gagawin ko yung best ko na makatulong sa kanila.”
Besides paying back the kindness coach that Topex Robinson and his staff have showed to him, Apacible knows that this is his last chance.
“Nakaka-motivate sila,” he shared about how he is motivated by his former Ateneo teammates. “Ako na lang natira e kasi sabay-sabay kami nun. Ako yung nawala.
“Ngayon, eto na yung last chance ko para may mapatunayan ako.”