Usually, the juniors of a varsity team are the ones who wait for their turn, staying patient as their seniors end their tour of duty. Not the other way around.
But for Far Eastern University Tamaraws floor general Axel Inigo, he is willing to make a sacrifice for the sake of the team.
The 24 year old point guard out of Las Pinas transferred from Adamson University to FEU back in 2015. In his first year with the Tamaraws, the 5-foot-6 floor general was a pivotal part of the Tamaraws’ rotation, playing at an average 21.6 minutes per game with norms of 8.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.
But things changed in his second year with the arrival of transferees Hubert Cani and Jasper Parker. His minutes dropped to 15.4 minutes per outing while still starting six games — up by a game from his first year in Sampaloc.
The backcourt of FEU continued to load up a year later with the addition of Baby Tamaraw L-Jay Gonzales.
But instead of demanding more, Inigo, just like what his brother Achie did for the program a few years back, accepted any role given to him by second-year head coach Olsen Racela for the sake of the team.
“Axel’s been getting less playing time because of L-Jay. Pero sabi ko, very selfless siya, iniisip niya ang kapakanan ng team,” beamed Racela as Inigo has logged in an average of 13.7 minutes per game in their first seven games.
“Ang sinasabi ko sa sarili ko, kahit ilang minuto ‘yung ibibigay sa akin ni coach, ibibigay ko na ‘yung best ko,” added Inigo.
“Matalo, manalo, talagang magpapakamatay ako para makapag-contribute man lang sa team.”
When given the minutes, Inigo showed that he is willing to go all out.
Wednesday afternoon against the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Inigo torched the defending champions. In the fourth quarter of that game, he knocked down back-to-back triples early to help give the Tamaraws cushion against a potent Ateneo offense. Moreover, he helped in locking down Ateneo’s point guards Tyler Tio and SJ Belangel.
FEU won the game, 63-60, to end the round with a three-game winning streak.
“Last two games, or three ata, three games, parang nagi-struggle ako eh. Sinasabi ko sa sarili ko, buti na lang and’yan si L-Jay. Kumbaga, nagi-step up siya para sa team. So ako, sabi nga ng mga coaches, maging ready lang ako,” he disclosed.
“Naka-tsamba lang talaga ako kanina.”
Though he credits his outing to sheer luck, it’s safe to say that it was his patience that led it.
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