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Gelmart Umpad: Defying the odds

By: Jonas N. Panerio - Cebu Daily News | October 07,2015 - 10:14 PM

Gelmart Umpad of UC makes his move against an Ateneo de Cebu defender in Game 1 Cesafi juniors division finals at the Cebu Coliseum.

Gelmart Umpad of UC makes his move against an Ateneo de Cebu defender in Game 1 Cesafi juniors division finals at the Cebu Coliseum. contributed photo/ronex tolin

IN THE GAME of basketball, the old adage “height is might” is a refrain that almost never fails. But in the same breath, there’s no telling what the heart and the determination that beats with it can accomplish.
Such is the inspiring story of the University of Cebu’s (UC) court general Gelmart Umpad, who in spite standing at a mere 4-foot-10, stood head and shoulders above the rest of the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles in Game 1 of the Cesafi’s juniors finals last Tuesday.
Umpad, a recruit from the northern town of Medellin here in Cebu, scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists. More than the numbers, it was his whirling dervish play that broke down the Magis Eagles’ formidable defense, leading to open looks that the Baby Webmasters were more than happy to convert in their surprising 73-63 Game 1 victory, a win that placed UC within a win away from the high school crown.
For Umpad, the achievement is a culmination of a journey filled with doubters who said that he couldn’t hack it simply because of his lack of height. The soft-spoken guard, though, firmly believed in his dream and relentlessly pursued it. It was this passion that brought him from the quiet town of Medellin to the big city.
“Maski tong bata pa ko, basketball gyud ang akong hilig,” said the 16-year old Umpad. “Nagtry-out lang ko para makaduwa didto sa public school sa amoa pero gidala man ko sa akoa coach diri sa UC ug maayo sad na nakasulod ko diri.”
(Even when I was a kid, I was already fond of basketball. I tried out so I could play in a public school in our place but my coach brought me here to UC and I’m glad that I was able to make it to the team.)
In a game dominated by giants, Umpad said that he recognizes the disadvantage that he constantly finds himself in. Against the Magis Eagles, he was primarily defended by former Batang Gilas guard Jed Colonia, who stands more than a foot taller than him.
Umpad said he doesn’t give it any mind. After all, he has hurdled obstacles higher and far more difficult than the ones that stand before him and the juniors title that he and the Baby Webmasters so covet.
“I just make sure I am able to create and set up my teammates,” said the spunky guard who flirted with a triple-double (12 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists) in a win over the University of San Carlos this season.
With Game 1 already in the bag, Umpad now puts his focus on getting his team ready for the battle that lies ahead.
“We shouldn’t be contented. This isn’t over yet,” asserted Umpad.

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TAGS: Cesafi juniors, UC Baby Webmasters

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