Before the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball tournament, the San Sebastian College-Recoletos suffered an exodus.
For reasons still unknown, a total of seven student-athletes left San Sebastian – including floor generals Ryan Costelo and Renzo Navarro.
Given this, third-year guard RK Ilagan had to grow up fast, as he is now seen as one of the few veterans remaining in the team.
“Sabi po nung coaches sa akin, kailangan ko ma-develop yung leadership ko, pati yung pagco-communicate ko sa mga bata,” recalled the former Staglet.
However, Ilagan’s youth still showed on Saturday afternoon during the Stags’ opening day game against the Lyceum Pirates.
The 5-foot-8 gunner was having himself a game, scoring 18 points to go along with four assists and three rebounds. There was no stopping him.
Well, except for himself.
With eight minutes left in the game, Ilagan was slapped with a technical foul for continuous complaining. It was his fifth foul.
“Nagpadala na naman ako sa init ng ulo ko e. ‘Di naman kasi ako sanay sa ganun, so mali ko na naman, nagpadala ako, na-technical,” he admitted.
He would be left watching the final moments of the game sitting on the bench. Making it more painful was that San Sebastian’s upset bid fell short, 80-85.
“Wala na ako magawa, chineer ko nalang yung mga teammates ko. Sayang lang talaga, five points.
“Sobrang nakakahinayang kasi, dapat talaga andun ako sa loob, nakakatulong dapat ako sa team ko. Maganda naman ginawa ng second group at ibang mga veterans,” he added.
Still, it’s just the first game of the season. With this, Ilagan realizes how pivotal he will be for the Stags’ campaign.