He’s only 15, but Mclaude Guadaña, at 5’10,” is no rookie on the basketball court. While most kids were starting to play simple games, Guadaña, a Junior Pirate from Lyceum of the Philippines, was shooting hoops at age six.
He credits his father, his first coach, for introducing him to basketball and fueling his passion for the game.
At age seven, he began joining competitions in his school and barangay. By 12, he was the MVP of Palarong Pambansa. He and the Junior Pirates compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Like all student athletes, he juggles school work with obligations to family and friends, and with training that lasts until 8 p.m.
He admits that his hectic schedule has made him miss out on a lot of important events; he’s skipped family gatherings to be at the games, and even missed celebrating his birthday because he was busy training.
But the sacrifices and hard work do pay off. Guadaña is thankful for the perks of being a student athlete, and says the discipline teaches him and other athletes to be champions on and off the court.
Playing with the Junior Pirates also builds character, he says. While his coach always reminds the team to stay humble, his teammates are a great source of motivation. “Sa totoo lang, hindi naman kami isang team lang. Isa na kaming pamilya bound by the passion of playing basketball,” he says.
The secrets to his success? “Enjoy the sport and take it seriously,” he says. “Train hard, too, because this is how you progress. Always be humble, be coachable, and be grateful sa lahat ng na-a-achieve mo.”
He adds: “Acknowledge the source of your strength and talent. All the opportunities to play would not be possible without the Lord.”
The ninth grader plans an athletic run in college. It’s inevitable; when asked by his mom what he wanted to study in college, the then seven-year-old Guadaña asked if there was a course in basketball.
With his gift for the sport, he can’t imagine doing anything else.
Photography Maika Anthoni Styling Luis Carlo San Juan Grooming and hairstyle Syd Helmsley