The world was a different place when Kent Pastrana first competed in the UAAP.
Back then, the native of Silay City represented De La Salle University under Coach Cholo Villanueva, Rodrigo Roa Duterte was still the president, and the dreaded COVID-19 virus had yet to emerge, causing damage worldwide.
This time around, Pastrana plays for the University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Basketball Tournament. Her eagerness to make up for lost time was apparent as she led the Growling Tigresses to a 63-46 win over the University of the East last Sunday, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
“Sobrang excited na po yung feeling kanina tsaka medyo gigil kasi sa ilang taon po na hindi nakapaglaro, masaya po yung first game ko sa UAAP (para sa UST),” she said.
Pastrana entered the contest in the first quarter from the bench. She did not show any signs of rust whatsoever, scoring 12 points on the back of four three-pointers.
Unlike her La Salle days when she would drive to the rim almost every time, she played the role of a spot-up shooter who always made herself available in the corner. Without a doubt, her comeback could not have panned out better than it did.
“Sobrang happy po kasi for how many years po ako nawala sa industriya ng basketbol po. Ito po yung pinakamagandang opportunity na binigay sa akin ni coach (Haydee Ong) lalo na sa tiwala na binigay sa akin para maka-contribute sa team,” said the Season 82 Mythical Five awardee.
UST last won the championship back in Season 69. The Growling Tigresses are favored by most to take away the crown from National University this year.
For that to happen, Pastrana must be the consistent performer people think she could be. With her first-game jitters out of the way, it’s all about consistency from this point until the end of the campaign.
“Of course, everyone is expecting a lot from Kent,” said Ong. “Coming from the pandemic, ngayon lang uli siya nakalaro (after) four years. I think she needs to control it a little bit, kasi medyo gigil pa lahat ng players ko today. Bibigyan ko ng muscle relaxant later.”