ANTIPOLO — John Apacible finally saw action in front of Ateneo on Sunday afternoon.
But the circumstances couldn’t be more different than the last time.
“Nakaka-miss din kasi last, last year, nandoon ako.
“Gusto kong maglaro last time, pero may sakit ako eh,” he said.
Back in Season 78, the Hope Christian High School alumnus was a sophomore for the Blue Eagles. However, one big mistake that year — wherein he became a viral sensation in his drunken state — led to a series of unfortunate events.
He tried to get back to raise his grades in another college, but things didn’t pan out. It led him to a short stint with Lyceum before moving to University of the East.
In his first outing against Ateneo, the 22-year-old couldn’t help feeling sentimental after everything he experienced. He produced six points and four rebounds in close to 19 minutes of action as his current team got walloped by his former school, 50-84.
Despite having big wins over La Salle and UST, UE has had a dismal Season 82. Poor results have yielded another year away from the Final Four, and prolong the Red Warriors’ absence since 2009. Amidst this difficult campaign, Apacible hopes his younger teammates can learn from the experience.
“Okay ‘yung experience na ito dahil ‘pag rookie ka, ‘yun ang kailangan. ‘Yung mga kalaban namin, alam na nila kung paano sa UAAP,” said the BS Management student.
“Next year, may mga bago ulit kami, kami na ‘yung tutulong sa kanila. Itutuluy-tuloy na lang namin.”
The silver lining for Apacible this year is that he is finally showed his game under the spotlight of the UAAP while donning the Red Warriors jersey. He has shown glimpses of what made him a top recruit back in 2015, and he now simply wishes to carry on.
“Ang tagal ko rin makuha ‘yung kumpyansa ko.
“Nakuha ko ‘yun nung patapos na ‘yung season. Magpapalakas pa rin kami at magtutulungan kaming lahat,” said Apacible, who had averages of 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in his first two years in Ateneo.
Courtesy of its loss to Ateneo, UE is officially out of the post-season picture. The Red Warriors now have nothing left to play for in Season 82. Nevertheless, Apacible can have a big smile on his face as he has finally found peace in UE.
“Alam ko na ulit kung paano ‘yung process. ‘Di rin biro ‘yung two years akong nawala sa UAAP.”