Written by Jonash Dannug
Back in 2017, a young John Amores packed his bags and travelled to Manila with two goals in mind – to help his family and to reach the PBA.
Though discouraged by some, John stood by his goal and pursued his dream.
“Maraming nagsasabi sa akin noon na napakahirap daw ng basketball sa Manila, pero hindi ko pinansin [kasi] mas nanaig ‘yung pangarap ko na makapag laro [dito] at para matulungan ko ang family ko,” said John.
“Kaya ko ‘to ginagawa para sa kanila, para mabigyan ko sila ng magandang buhay. Kung sakaling mapasama ako sa [PBA], doon ko masusuklian ang paghihirap at pagod ng magulang ko,” he added.
John tried his luck with Mapua and Far Eastern University. Unfortunately, he got rejected by the two schools. Driven by his goal, John never gave up and found his niche in the form of the Jose Rizal University.
Life was fun back then for John. He was a typical Pinoy kid.
“Dati talaga umaalis ako ng bahay maaga, [tapos] umuuwi ako gabi na. Nagbabasketball lang ako mag hapon,” said John.
Despite all the fun that comes along with playing basketball, life was never easy for John.
“’Yun nga po ang dahilan [kung] bakit ako nandito sa Manila, kasi po mahirap din po ang buhay, masaya pero mahirap. [‘Yung] father ko driver at may binabantayan siyang farm doon sa pinagdadrive-an niya, [‘Yung] mother ko naman housewife,” John discussed.
After being picked up by the Light Bombers, John showed what he is capable of. He proved that he’s no push-over and could contribute quality minutes to the young JRU squad.
However, the latter almost threw everything away as he was struck by one of the most inconceivable problems that a student-athlete has to face – being homesick. After all, John was still a kid.
“Sobrang hirap ng mapalayo sa family, dumating sa point na balak ko na umuwi noon kasi sa sobrang homesick ko. Hindi kasi ako sanay na mapalayo sa pamilya ko,” he said.
John, after thinking things through, regathered his bearings and stood by his goal again. He remembered the reason and why he did it. Most importantly, he remembered to whom he did it for.
“Sa kabila nun, pinilit kong lumaban at mas inisip ko ang family ko. Nandito na rin lang naman ako, itutuloy tuloy ko na,” John said.
Now, John is coming off an incredible season after winning the NCAA Season 94 Most Improved Player plum with averages of 17.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. John is also one of the best high school players in the country after grabbing the 17th spot in the final rankings of the NBTC.
John showed that it’s never a mistake to dream. It’s free, actually. Who knows? You might end up as the NCAA’s Most Improved Player or the 17th best high school player in the country. After all, all of these came from two things – a simple goal and a pocket full of dreams.
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.