#SLAMRisingStars 2018: Joem Sabandal of Team Punks

Height: 5’11”

School: Adamson University Baby Falcons

Position: Point guard and Shooting guard

PBA player you idolize: “Si Keifer Ravena. Iniidolize ko siya since I was in Grade School.”

Favorite PBA Team: “Dalawa sila, Star Hotshots (now Magnolia) and Barangay Ginebra. Star kasi ‘yung chemistry nila as a team nandoon. Sa Ginebra naman ‘yung Never Say Die spirit nila.”

Favorite song in your Spotify Playlist: Hayaan Mo Sila by Ex-Battalion x OC Dawgs

School committed to play in college: Not yet committed as there is still a year left in HS playing eligibility.

What part of your game do you feel you need to improve on in becoming a better player? “I-improve ko this summer ‘yung passing at dribbling skills ko kasi kailangan ko mag-adjust na maging point guard since shooting guard ang laro ko. ‘Yun ang sinabi ni coach (Mike Fermin) sa akin.”

What is your most memorable game so far? “Yung game namin against UE. Kasi we were down by 12, i think. Tapos hinabol namin hanggang sa nakalamang kami ng lima. Kasi this season, doon tumaas ang kumpiyansa namin, sa mga crucial games.”

Did you have a bad game this season? How were you able to bounce from it? “Yes, ‘yung versus Ateneo noong second round. I was only limited to a single point. After the game, down na down ako kasi sayang kasi. Bumawi ako starting from our practice following that game. Pagkatapos noon was the UE game (as mentioned above) kaya doon tumaas ang kumpiyansa ko.”

What made you stick with Adamson despite the series of events that happened? “Siguro ‘yung sa community (ng Adamson). ‘Yung pagtanggap nila sa akin, ‘yung suporta nila. Pag nasa Adamson ka, feel at home ka talaga.”

What is the most memorable lesson you’ve learned from your coach? “Hard work. Na pag galing ka sa wala, paghihirapan mo talaga para makuha mo ang gusto mo.”

Who do you consider as your toughest opponent on the court? “Si CJ Cansino. Sa do-or-die game naming this season (versus the UST Tiger Cubs), we need to stop him. Sa crucial point ng game kami na ang nagbabantayan. We need to win kasi. That time na-limit naming siya to 18 points. 10 points after 4 quarters pero ‘yun nga, bumitaw kami sa overtime. Naka-8 straight points siya yata dun.”

What can we expect from you in the 2018 SLAM Rising Stars Classic? “Ibibigay ko lang ‘yung best ko, kasi nagaadjust pa kami ng mga teammates ko. First time ko pa lang kaya ibibigay ko ang best ko at gagawin ko sa makakaya ko.”

What are your plans for the future? “Given the chance, kung sa college nais ko mag-stay sa Adamson. Pero kung may mag-offer na makakatulong sa family ko, why not ‘di ba? Pipiliin ko na lang po ‘yun. Hindi naman sa school ‘yun, basta nakakatulong sa family ko. For the Baby Falcons, ang main goal naming is to reach the Finals. First, kailangan muna naming paghirapan tsaka Final Four muna.”

Joem Sabandal

Following the series of unfortunate events that fell on the Adamson Baby Falcons last season, Joem Sabandal could’ve chose to walk away and join the mass exodus which saw several key players and the coaching staff leave the confines of San Marcelino. It would’ve been understandable given the circumstances and he could have a fresh start to his HS career at a new program.

But in a show of loyalty rarely seen in the today’s amateur sporting world wherein transfers and switching of squads are as common as that in the pros, the kid from Cagayan de Oro  opted to stay in the aftermath of this debacle. Despite the Baby Falcons falling short in their campaign this season, the team is ready to soar anew with Sabandal leading the way.

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