I started playing tennis when I was 5 years old. I remember tagging along with my dad whenever he played at a club near our home. I would be their ball boy, after that, it would be my turn to hit some balls. My dad always told me that I was the one who initiated to play tennis. I loved it! I loved hitting tennis balls. At such a young age, I felt a sense of enjoyment and peace whenever I stepped on the court.
I played my first tournament at 8, and won my first title at 9. I became the nation’s No. 1 junior tennis player at 15 and held the position till I went to college. One of my biggest accomplishments I had as a junior was leading the Philippine Junior Davis Cup Team to qualify for its first and only World Group Championship in Barcelona, Spain. We placed 3rd behind the Japanese powerhouse that was led by Kei Nishikori, and Team Australia in the Asia / Oceania Qualifiers. Subsequently, I played the Australian, French and Wimbledon Juniors soon after.
Tennis has taught me to walk a straight path at an early age. It taught me discipline, commitment and hard work. Most people saw my tennis accomplishments only. Underneath those accomplishments, was a kid who was burning his eyebrows with his academics. As I wanted to play tennis, my parents and I had to sign a “contract” that I would have to honor if I wanted to have a long term relationship with the sport I love. I had to maintain the perfect balance of tennis and academics. I hated that contract. I whined about it several times, especially when I came home from practice all tired and sleepy, but I had to push through it. All that hard work on the court and in the classroom led to an admission to a very prestigious university in the US, Santa Clara University, on a full tennis scholarship. All those years of hard work and discipline, were my parents who tirelessly pushed their son to the limit. I am more than grateful and blessed for everything they have done.
US College Experience
I started my college tennis career as the No. 2 player in our team, and we had a terrible record (4-16), in school history. We only had 6 players on our team then. The next year, our coach recruited a few good players who eventually filled the line up, leading to a successful year. For the first time in about a decade, SCU was ranked again. The success continued. Our rankings just kept going up. During my senior year, I was able to lead Santa Clara to its first ever NCAA tournament. This was the highest team and individual rankings in school history. I also won the Male athlete of the Year award, that happens to be a first for the tennis team as no tennis player has ever won the said award till 2012.
Being the No. 1 tennis player at Santa Clara, I felt a great deal of pressure. My teammates, coaches, my family and even my country were counting on me to win matches. On top of that, I had to maintain a GPA of 3.0 – 3.5 at an academic university. For a while, the pressure held me back. when I started to get used to it, I was able to use it to my advantage to play better. I started to enjoy the pressure and was actually looking forward to it too! It’s amazing what college sports can do to you. You just have to look at the bottle as half full, not the other way around. Like most student-athletes, I realized how lucky I was to play the sport I love while studying at a prestigious university. With this in mind, I made sure to maximize that experience of a lifetime.
College was indeed one of the best experiences of my life. It taught me so many life lessons. It gave me a sense of independence and accountability. It taught me the spirit of teamwork and camaraderie.
After college, I tried to play professional tennis for about a year. It was something I always knew I wanted to try. For the first few months, I enjoyed it. I was grinding it out and winning matches. I traveled around the US and Asia to play the Futures events. But after a while, I suddenly had a change of heart. The desire to be a Top 100 ATP player was not there anymore. I was forcing myself to practice, play tournaments, even to enter in them. And because of that, I had to accept the fact that professional tennis was just not for me.
I came home to Manila and started working at the Philippine’s leading stock brokerage as a stock trader. I took up business in college as I’ve always had interest in the stock market. After about 2 years into the business, AddedSport came into the picture.
As an athlete, my passion for sports will always be there. I am also very passionate about helping young kids pursue their athletic dreams. Whether to turn professional or to use their sport to gain admission into top academic universities. Having experienced the ITF circuit and especially US college tennis, I am dedicated to help aspiring athletes have the best possible experience– this is why I joined AddedSport. Tennis gave me a life I never thought I would have. It brought me to places I’ve dreamed of visiting. It made me a tough and determined individual, ready to conquer the world. Tennis changed my life in more ways than I could ever imagine. Now, it is time to share my knowledge, experience and expertise to help as many aspiring young athletes as I can.