Ralph Jude Dinolan, University of San JoseRecoletos
Mark Christian Kong, Cebu Institute of Technology-University
It’s incredible how basketball can strip away any and all inhibitions. Take Mark Christian Kong for example. Off the floor, you might see him lounging in a corner, comfortably minding his own business or just shooting the breeze with his intimate circle of friends. “I’m a really shy guy. At first, I really don’t talk all that much unless someone speaks with me. It’s only when I get familiar with someone that I really open myself up and show how funny and loud I can be,” Kong shared. But put him on the floor and Kong becomes the crafty-lefty, capable of destroying defenses with his vast array of moves as well he can disarm opposing fans with his sly smirk.
As aggressive and in-yourface as the game of University of San Jose-Recoletos forward Ralph Jude Dinolan is, his personality is as old school and laid back as one can possibly get. “I’m a low key and homebody kind of guy. I’m an old school romantic and I love the music of the 70s and the 80s,” said the former Mythical Five forward who is playing in his final season for the Jaguars. Unconvinced of his claims, we asked him to choose between going out and staying home. Without batting an eyelash, he quipped, “I love watching movies by myself or with my nieces and nephews.” So there you have it.
Jancork Cabahug, University of the Visayas
Don’t make the mistake of confusing the myth of the University of the Visayas’ Jancork Cabahug with that of the man himself. The myth conjectures that the burly 6foot-2 forward is a high-scoring hothead who has a lot going for him owing to his roots to the Mandaue royalty that is the Cabahug family. The reality however, is Jancork is a “family-oriented, friendly and open-minded” chap who cares deeply for both friends and family. “I make sure that I spend time with my family and friends. I love to help people and I am always one call away,” Jancork divulged.
John Reel Saycon, University of San Carlos
Don’t mistake John Reel Saycon’s meekness for weakness. A shy, timid young man that reflects that of his hometown of Tanjay, John Reel lets his game do all the talking. And boy, did it not just talk but actually screamed of brilliance, all the way to a spot in the prestigious Mythical Five last season. This year, Saycon’s presence has become more understated but no less profound, as in spite of the loss of several key players, John Reel has dragged the Warriors to the semifinals where he will continue to showcase his oncourt heroics. Just don’t expect him to be all too loud about it.
Jaybie Mantilla, University of San JoseRecoletos
Here’s a tip: never get advice on how to eat healthy from Jaybie Mantilla. For goodness’ sake, the jitterbug from the University of San Jose-Recoletos gorges on fried chicken, pizza, and burger and fries like there’s no tomorrow and then, washes it all down with his drink of choice, Sprite soda. Good thing Jaybie is not tasked with being a nutritionist. Rather, the Cesafi’s reigning MVP is a damn good basketball player who’s hell-bent on bringing a title to the Jaguars’ lair in what is his final hurrah for USJ-R.
Roy Quiachon, Jr., University of Southern Philippines Foundation
Would you believe that the University of Southern Philippines’ All Star forward Roy Quiachon, Jr. only learned how to play the game of basketball at age 16? As unexpected as that may seem, it really isn’t once you get to know the veteran cager. “I’m always eager to learn new things,” said Quiachon. A self-confessed “lola’s boy” who grew up under the watch of his grandmother after being separated from his parents at an early age, Roy may look rigid but the young man has jokes for days. That is if you can pry him away from the bed where you will find him on most off days.