Larry Muyang never really saw himself bringing his talents anywhere else. When he was younger, he only thought of staying put in Pampanga.
That, however, changed a few years ago when he came to Manila. And that turned out to be a wise decision on his part, since he has since emerged as one of the best young big men in the local basketball scene today.
And now, many see the 6-foot-5 bruiser as one of the top talents entering the PBA through the virtual Rookie Draft set on March 14.
“Sobrang saya ko. Kasi dati, gusto ko lang talaga maglaro diyan lang sa amin eh. Hindi ko talaga inakala na madadala ko pa sa Maynila ‘yung laro ko,” he told Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ The Prospects Pod, presented by SMART.
His journey in the big city began when he was supposed to be part of San Sebastian’s Team B. A falling-out between the Stags’ top support, Pampanga Vice Gov. Delta Pineda, and the Stags halted those plans.
That led to him and other players under Pineda’s stable moving from U-belt to Taft Avenue, to play for De La Salle University in the UAAP.
He gave the Green Archers solid minutes in Season 78, but unfortunately saw himself cut the next season following the arrival of eventual MVP Ben Mbala. His days there came to an end, and he found himself in Intramuros not long after.
Muyang then suited up for Colegio de San Juan de Letran. There he found his niche, first under Coach Jeff Napa and then Coach Bonnie Tan.
He showed that the Knights program is where he fits in just fine. In 2019, he helped the school return to glory after four years by bagging home the Season 95 championship at the expense of San Beda Red Lions.
But even with what he has achieved thus far, Muyang never forgets his roots. And that was evident in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
He was part of the San Juan-Go For Gold crew that won the 2019 national championship, but he did not return to the Knights the following season as he really wanted to represent Pampanga.
“Nung kinuha ako ng San Juan after ng NCAA championship, sabi ko gusto ko sana maglaro muna sa Pampanga para makatulong din ako sa kanila. Naintindihan naman ng San Juan ‘yun,” he shared.
“Sobrang saya nung nakapaglaro sa, unang game ko sa Pampanga pa,” he added, recalling his first game with the Giant Lanterns at the AUF Sports and Cultural Center, where they beat Batangas-Tanduay in overtime.
With how much he loves where he hails from, it’s a no-brainer that his PBA idols are some of the finest players to come out of Pampanga.
“Sa akin dalawa ‘yung idol ko talaga eh — si Kuya Japeth [Aguilar] at Kuya Jayson Castro.
“Kasi tahimik lang sila sa court, pero maangas sila ‘pag naglaro talaga eh. Walang reklamo sa loob ng court,” said the 25-year-old.
And in just a matter of time, he’ll meet those two on the PBA court. Many see Muyang as a first-round pick, but that is the least of his concerns. Instead, he remains focused on what he has to work on to earn his spot in the pros.
“Sa akin, depensa rin. Siyempre alam naman na sentro ‘yung laro ko kaya do-doblehin pa ‘yung depensa talaga,” he said.
“Saka minsan nagshu-shooting shooting din, kasi kailangan sa PBA talaga ‘yung sa perimeter eh.”