The buzz started during the FIBA Asia U16 tournament, where Forthsky Padrigao was criticized because of his tendency to go fancy plays. It wouldn’t have been an issue if he had made his shots or connected on his flashy passes. The problem was, Forthsky kept on throwing up bricks, while throwing the ball away at a high rate at the same time.
The haters only continued during the UAAP Finals, with his same issues getting magnified once again. While Kai Sotto dominated the field, fans felt Forthsky didn’t live up to his lofty billing as the team’s best back court option. In Game 1, he committed eight turnovers. In Game 2, he shot a horrendous 3/14 from the field.
The questions only lingered after the UAAP season. Is Forthsky as good as we thought he was, or is he just a fraud?
When asked about the concern, Blue Eaglets head coach Reggie Varilla was quick to defend Forth. Coach Reggie said that there is no questioning Forth’s talent. He even goes as far as to say that basketball is easy for the SLAM Rising Star. The issue was, because of how easy it can become for him, he gets bored, thus the need for going for highlights. Kai, who happens to be one of Forth’s best friends, even went as far as to call Padrigao as “the best point guard that I teamed up with”.
Despite Coach Reggie’s, and the team’s trust in Forth’s talents, that doesn’t mean they let him easy with his mistakes. “As a teammate and as a friend, talagang pinaprangka ko siya na ayusin niya laro niya, na tumigil siya na umarte siya,” said Forth’s best friend Kai Sotto.
Forth himself acknowledges he does get bored at times. He does love to go for the highlight plays. Yet, despite the critiques on his game, that doesn’t mean he’ll let go of who he is naturally. Flamboyant, electric, with a natural affinity for the flashy play. The challenge is trying to balance the fun with the substantial.
“Minsan, okay siya. Basta within the system,” said Forth regarding his attempts at highlight plays. “Mas goal ko muna ngayon na mas maging efficient.”
Padrigao has time, despite the high expectations people have. He still has two years left in the High School level, with plenty of opportunities to learn from his past mistakes.
All eyes are on Padrigao now. Not just the haters. But everyone. He’s now the main guy of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets with Kai heading out west come April. He now has a chance to lead the charge of Ateneo in trying to reclaim their lost championship. There’s lots of challenges ahead, but he can start with the biggest one. Making sure that the electricity he brings to the court is more stable and substantial.
The SLAM Rising Stars Classic will be held on March 31, 7PM to 9PM, at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong. The game will be aired on ABS-CBN Sports via livestream.