"You've seen the light."
That's one line I've heard far too many times. Saying I transferred to Ateneo from La Salle was my go-to line in freshman year when our professors would make us stand up, state our names and say something interesting about ourselves. After all, what's more interesting than jumping ship to the rival school?
As I walked towards JSEC, I couldn't help but feel excited. I was about to talk to someone who's gone from Taft to Katipunan, someone who knew what Nomi is and shares the same frustration that the only subject credited from La Salle was NSTP. It was that same experience that melted away the usual nervousness I get when meeting someone new.
I heard a lot about Nico Elorde over the summer of 2011 when the influx of guards on the Green Archer roster motivated him to head to Loyola Heights. Nico's transfer to Ateneo was the talk of the town because one, the fact that Ateneo and La Salle are rival schools and two, the adjustments in the coaching staff in La Salle at the time affected a couple of Archers — Nico included. Having been an Archer all his life, graduating from De La Salle Zobel, the adjustment from green to blue was unusual but it was a necessary move on his part to do what he wants to do most — play basketball.
"It's meant to be," Nico says about his transfer to Ateneo. Three games into the 75th season of the UAAP and he has already gotten significant minutes as well as proven himself as an integral part of the Blue Eagles. Sharing point guard duties with Kiefer Ravena and Juami Tiongson, Nico is happy every minute he's on the court, "I'm giving my best inside the court, doing what Coach Norman says and doing the role I'm given. Siempre there's pressure but I just play the game and enjoy".
On their loss against UST and former teammate Jeric Fortuna, "Okay yung first half, pero mamaya, nagkakanya yung team. Kulang din sa rebounds." Despite the loss early in the season, the team bounced back in their most recent game against the NU Bulldogs, winning by a 24-point margin, 89-65.
As we small-talked about things we missed about La Salle, "Siempre, my friends, the people", friends at a table nearby go "Uy bro, lakas mo sa game, ah!" and people who pass by come over just to bump fists (if the last name didn't give it away already, Nico is also the grandson of boxing legend Flash Elorde). I asked him if he still visited Taft, and he says he still does on a regular basis.
"My girlfriend is from Taft, pero kapag may game, she cheers for Ateneo!" he says with a laugh.
This Saturday, the rival schools battle it out at the MOA Arena at 4pm, and it promises to be another hard-fought battle. "Confident sila in their game," says Nico about the Green Archers.
When I asked Nico my final question on how it feels to go up against his former school, "Excited. Makikita ko former teammates ko".
Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.
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