If you could chart the course of Joem Sabandal’s career in the UAAP juniors, then you’ll end up with a player trending in the right way. Joem’s role with the Adamson Baby Falcons grew with each passing year, and the team’s results improved alongside him. Now he aims to carry that growth all the way to the seniors division.
After a breakout Season 80 campaign, Joem was the driving force of an Adamson team that returned to Final Four after a three-year absence. He finished Season 81 with per game numbers of 14.1 points 7.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists, good enough to make the Mythical Team.
More importantly, the young guard guided Adamson to a 9-5 win-loss slate, fourth in the league. Though his time with the Baby Falcons did not result in a championship, Joem is happy with the growth of the team throughout the years.
“For me yung pag-angat ng team from nothing,” Joem said. “‘Yon lang maiiwan kong magandang alaala sa amin.”
As the Baby Falcons became a better team, Joem also became a much better cager. From a player coming off the bench in his first year, to the face of a team hungry for a chip.
“From a bench player to a captain ball sa team. Malaking bagay yon for me and dami ko natutunan as a player and kung pano i-lead yung team,” Joem said.
While it will be difficult for Joem to continue improve on his game as he takes the leap into the collegiate ranks, he is already getting the proper encouragement the senior’s coaching staff.
Despite the UAAP juniors season ending in February, Joem is already gearing up for the bright lights of the seniors division. He will stay in Adamson for college, and has been training with the Soaring Falcons in preparation for next season.
For Joem, the message of the senior coaches is clear: Keep doing what you are doing.
“Gusto lang nila is magkakumpiyansa ako,” Joem said. “Since galing ako sa magandang season kelangan ko lang ipagpatuloy yon.”
Joem adds he feels that his overall game and playmaking could translate well when he takes the step up to the senior level, and could be an intriguing addition to an ambitious Soaring Falcons team. But you will be hard pressed to find anyone more eager to see him compete in college than Joem himself.
“Very very excited. Ilang months from now makakalaro ko na yung nakikita ko lang sa TV dati,” Joem said. “For me naman I don’t want big expectations.
“Papakita ko lang kung anong kaya ko,” Joem said about the next phase in his career.
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.