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Will McAloney almost quit basketball as he worked as PLDT inspector to sustain family

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After his collegiate stint with University of San Carlos, basketball wasn’t even on Will McAloney’s mind, as he instead decided to skip his dream and focus on providing for his family. 

A career in the sport was a hazy option then for McAloney. Having previously played for Emilio Aguinaldo College-Cavite before coming back to Cebu in 2012, he failed to gain the exposure he needed to step onto the professional scene.

McAloney then worked as a quality assurance inspector in a telecommunications company, while also playing in different bush leagues from time to time to keep his passion for the sport alive.

Then, a conversation with his good friend and future teammate Ian Ortega altered the McAloney’s path.

“Bale nagtatrabaho na kasi ako sa PLDT, quality assurance inspector, tapos ‘yun nga, ‘yung isang teammate ko, si Ian Ortega, nag-tryout siya,” shared McAloney in Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ CPT Crossover, presented by SMART and supported by LGR.

“Sabi ko kasi ayaw ko nga mag-tryout ng mga basketball kasi may family na ako eh, may anak na ko no’n eh. Sabi ko gusto ko na mag-focus sa family ko.

“Tapos nag-tryout siya, kinabukasan, kinumusta ko ‘yung tryout niya. Sabi niya, hinahanap daw [ako] ng coach pero nung nag-start ako sa Cebu, ako ‘yung pinakamababang sahod don eh,” he added.

After convincing his wife and proving his worth to Cebu-Casino Ethyl Alcohol, the 6-foot-5 bruiser was able to crack his hometown’s line-up. He suited up in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League’s 2018 Season.

“Tapos sabi ko sa wife ko, try lang natin kung ano ‘yung ano… Hindi naman natin alam. Lahat naman ng bagay na nangyayari may purpose ‘yan eh,” said McAloney.

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First playing as a backup to his more experienced peers, McAloney finally got his chance after the management decided to part ways with ex-pros Jondan Salvador and Eric Rodriguez — leaving all the minutes they vacated for McAloney to seize.

McAloney then took the baton for Cebu and emerged as one of the top big men in the regional league. His best season came in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup; there, he averaged 17.3 points and 10.5 rebounds while also earning an All-Star nod.

“Tapos ‘yun, nagsumikap lang ako tapos nabigyan ako ng chance sa team ng Cebu namin. Nabigyan ako ng kumpyansa nung natanggal ‘yung mga ex-pro namin na big men, sila kuya Jondan at kuya Eric. Naisip ko siguro ito na ‘yung chance na binigay sa akin ni God na magpakita kung anong kaya kong maitulong sa team, kung ano ‘yung kaya kong ma-improve pa.”

Despite failing to lead Cebu to the playoffs, McAloney was able to boost his draft stock, paving the way for NLEX to select him in the 2019 PBA Draft with the 15th overall pick. And with that, he finally achieved his life-long dream to step to the pros.

Though his career took a long detour, McAloney’s gamble on reviving his basketball career has clearly paid dividends.

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