Sheldon’s swan song wish: 4th Cesafi collegiate basketball title

By: Mars G. Alison - CDN Digital | November 17,2019 - 11:19 AM

Sheldon Marlon Andre Gahi, University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers’ top point guard, hopes to end his last Cesafi season with a fourth title for UV. |CDND Photo/ Gerard Vincent Francisco

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A fourth Cesafi collegiate basketball title. 

This is the swan song that Sheldon Marlon Andre Gahi, the top point guard of defending champion University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers, wishes for. 

The 23-year-old Sheldon is playing in his last Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) season as he will be joining his family next month in Canada. 

“Ma champion pero di na namo basta basta makuha if di namo trabahoon,” said Sheldon. 

(To be the champion but we cannot just get that easily if we don’t work for it.)

Sheldon may just get his swan song as UV has just advanced to the Cesafi collegiate basketball finals last Saturday, November 16, by beating the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters twice in the semifinal round.

The Green Lancers will be gunning for their fourth straight Cesafi collegiate title and their 14th total  against Southwestern University (SWU) Phinma Cobras in a best-of-three finals series with Game 1 slated for November 18, 6:45 p.m. at the Cebu Coliseum.

“For me, it’s very important because it’s my last season para pud mabinlan nako ang akong mga teammates ug kampyonato. And, since pagduwa nako ug Cesafi 2016-2018, naa namo ang crown so gusto ko before ko mawala ma complete nako,” narrated Sheldon.

(For me, its important because its my last season [and] I could leave a championship behind for my teammates. And since I played in the Cesafi 2016-2018, the crown had been with us so I before I go, I want to complete that.)

Aside from this season being his last, this is also Sheldon’s comeback season. Although he was in the official lineup last year, he wasn’t able to suit up for UV as he had to let a Jones fracture injury heal.

Sheldon, now a Hotel and Restaurant Management junior, was supposed to join his family in Canada earlier but he opted to stay and play one more season for UV in the Cesafi.

The Finalists from the Cesafi Partner’s Cup 2019, the Southwestern University Cobras and the University of Visayas Green Lancers will meet again for the Regular Season finals this Thursday, Nov, 19, 2019 at the Cebu Coliseum.| CDND Photo/ Gerard Vincent Francisco

The Cesafi dream

Sheldon had always dreamed of playing in the Cesafi basketball. He grew up watching the Cesafi basketball games with his father, who is a basketball enthusiast and who influenced him into getting in the sport. His grandfather, Sheldon said, used to also play for one of the universities in Manila.

“Ang intensity sa duwa naa sa Cesafi. Every player sa Cesafi gipang pili gyud na so mabagat nimo ang laing laing player taga Cebu or Mindanao,” Sheldon explained why he had always looked up to the Cesafi.

(The intensity of the games is in the Cesafi. Every player in Cesafi was handpicked so you get to meet various players from Cebu and Mindanao.)

Basketball, however, wasn’t Sheldon’s first sport as he started out with karate when he was in elementary.

But was not able to compete because basketball then came into his life by way of a basketball clinic when he was 12 years old and a freshman in high school.

From the moment his hands touched the leather ball and he learned the basic skills of dribbling and shooting, he was hooked.

“For me, basketball is not a boring game, like daghan mo magduwa so lingaw ra and ganahan gyud ko’g contact sports (There’s many playing in it so it is fun and I also really like contact sports).”

What also made basketball click for Sheldon is that he is a team player.

“Mas ganahan ko’g team because diha nimo makita ang pag salig ug ma unite mo as one and naa kay ma estoryaan, imong mga teammates, and we all know nga number one sport nato diri sa Pilipinas kay basketball jud so mao na, gipili nako ang basketball.”

(I like it better being in a team because that’s where you can see trust and you get to unite as one. And, you have other people to talk to, your teammates, and we all know that our number one sport here in the Philippines is basketball, so that’s why I chose basketball.)

In his first year in high school, Sheldon played for Saint Louis and it was also in the same year that he tried out and got accepted with the vaunted UV Passerelle under coach Jaymar Vincent Canoy. Thus, started Sheldon’s varsity life.

He played for the UV Passerelle team in his second and third year but his mother transferred him to the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) in his fourth year. It was as the captain ball of the USPF Baby Panthers that he achieved his dream — playing in the Cesafi for the first time. 

“Na feel nako nga all my hard work ni pay off gyud, tanang sacrifices nako (I felt that all my hard work, all the sacrifices, paid off),” said Sheldon of how he felt when he first played in the Cesafi.

Sheldon didn’t stop there,however. In his first year in college, he tried out for the UV Green Lancers and for two years, he played for team B under UV head coach Gary Cortes.

The goal

Being put in team B in 2014 and 2015 did not discourage Sheldon. He had a goal and that was to make it to team A.

“Sa pagsulod palang nako sa UV, and mind set nako ato is straight gyud. Focus gyud ko ato nga ma lineup ko then step by step na team b ko and next na lineup dayun sa team A. Wa gyu’y imposible basta maningkamot lang, kasing kasing gyud ang importante,” said Sheldo,

(When I first got into UV, my mind set was straight. I was focused to get into the lineup, so step by step I got into team B and next I got into the team A lineup. Nothing is impossible as long as you try your best, putting your heart into it is really important.)

Sheldon made it into the Green Lancers A in 2016 wherein he was second stringer to then point guard Alfred Codilla. He was made to step up because a year earlier in 2015, Jun Manzo had left UV to join the UP Fighting Maroons in Manila.

It was also the year that UV got its first Cesafi collegiate basketball title under Cortes.

“First championship nako the best gyud ang feeling di nako ma explain but thankful kaayo ko ato sa Ginoo kay rookie ko na champion na.” 

(My first championship was the best. I cannot describe the feeling but I was very thankful to God because I was still a rookie but was already a champion.)

Sheldon said he will miss so much his journey with the UV Green Lancers in Cesafi. 

“Ma miss nako every practices namo and ang bond sa teammates nako. And also sa mga estorya ni coach Gary and coach Jomags.”

(I will miss every practice that I had with my teammates, our bond as well as the talks with coach Gary and coach Jomags.) Jonel “Jomags” Maglasang is Cortes’ assistant coach. 

UV head coach Cortes has described Sheldon as a very hard working player worthy of emulation.

“Na learn nako how to respect my teammates well and na learn nako nga basta maningkamot ka naa gyud kay maabtan not only me but also the team basta maningkamot mo tanan.”

(I learned how to respect my teammates as well and I also learned that if you try hard, you will achieve something, not only me but the team as well, if we all just try our best.)

Inspiration

All throughout this last season, Sheldon’s inspiration is the small family that he had built with his partner—Angelica Sabanal and their one-year and seven months old baby girl, Asha Bella Lexi.

Just in case, what he wishes for this season won’t happen, Sheldon has this to say, “We all know ang Ginoo rajud nakabaw sa tanan. If di gyud para amo, thankful ko nga naabot mi sa semis or finals and thankful ko niya kay ge hatagan ko’g chance makaduwa sa Cesafi nya na showcase nako akong skills sa pagduwa ug basketball.”

(We all know that God alone knows everything. If it is not really meant for us then I am thankful that we got to reach the semis or the finals and I am also thankful that I got the chance to play in the Cesafi and I got to showcase my basketball skills.)

As for those, who like him also dreams of playing in the Cesafi, Sheldon has this to say: “If gusto gyud nimo makuha imung main goal you have to work hard and be focused, but most importantly is mo apply sila ug discipline sa kaugalingon kay useless ra if maningkamot ka sa practice but after mag inom inom ka or laag laag. And, di nila kalimtan nga mag pray always.”

(If you really want to reach your main goal, you have to work hard and be focused, but most importantly is that you apply discipline on yourself because it will be useless if you work hard in the practice but after that you go out drinking and gallivanting. And, never forget to pray.) /elb

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TAGS: Cesafi, Cesafi collegiate basketball, Sheldon Gahi, UV Green Lancers

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