It’s never easy to leave home.
Polo Labao was a student athlete in the UP Integrated School. It was difficult to be one, but through his good study habits he was able to push through despite the rigorous academics alongside their trainings and games.
After graduating from senior high school, Labao transferred to Ateneo. Being a formidable athlete in high school, he received multiple offers from other schools. He was waiting for reconsideration to be admitted to UP Diliman since his UPCAT scores qualified him in other UP campuses. Before he tried out for UP, he attended try outs in Ateneo, and was accepted. Ateneo was also his parents’ choice for him, so he followed their decision.
“Ang ganda ng experience ko talaga sa Ateneo…Hindi rin maiiwasan yung thoughts na what if I stayed in UP. Pero nung andoon na ako sa Ateneo, di ko na talaga iniisip,” he said.
At the start of the quarantine in March, he was casually chatting with Dale Villajuan who is part of the recruitment team of UP. Villajuan said that UP wanted Labao, who at first thought that it was a joke. He consulted his parents in deciding whether or not he will go back. Eventually, he followed his heart to don maroon once again.
Although he does not regret his stay in Ateneo, he says that coming back to UP just feels right.
“I’m lucky na nag-Ateneo din ako. Ang dami kong experiences in terms of system. Pinaka-improvement ko is ‘yung mental toughness, pag-iisip sa court, and discipline. Nung high school I had no choice but to carry a lot of load kasi undermanned din kami talaga, puro rookies teammates ko. Feeling ko noon star player ako. Syempre going to Ateneo, I was humbled and mas lumaki yung pag-unawa ko sa game,” he said.
“Sobrang okay na ako sa Ateneo. But ‘nung nagkaroon ako ng chance to transfer sa UP, I thought about it since okay na ‘yung position ko sa Ateneo. Nakapag-adjust na ako sa environment and all. Pero at the end of the day, masusunod pa rin kung ano yung gusto mo,” he added.
Welcome home, Polo.