ICYMI: UP Diliman’s Hidden Gem in Basketball Wins Skills Challenge Award

By Mark Balmes

A little less daunting during the warm-ups and the opening program, Arman Cachuela 18 gracefully wins the skills challenge award in a break before the semi-finals.

“I had my doubts po bago magsimula kasi may mas mabilis sa team namin, [I had doubts if I should represent my team because there is a faster guy in the team than I am]” Cachuela explains. He was even seen signaling to be substituted as the instructions and drills were apprised to representative players.

The skills challenge tested the player’s speed, dribbling, 3-point and lay-up skills. The player with the fastest record wins the cash prize and the title first of its kind in the Philippines. Cachuela says that he’s always had confidence even with his disadvantage in height. Aside from having a coach that always reminded him of discipline and hardwork, he also grew up in a subdivision with only a half-court to play basketball in. He mentions that they also always get through the pre-game jitters with a joke and a prayer.

Player for more 12 years, Cachuela tells that in order to succeed in basketball, you have to do it wholeheartedly - to make it a big part of your life.

KP in the Finals

Cachuela had almost no room for a breather as he embarked on two major games after the triumph in a battle with Team Monaco and Telkha Blitz in the semi-finals and in the final game. Prior the final minutes of the finals, KP and Telkha Blitz battled neck-to-neck for the championship with leads frequently on a change in a tough competition of the preseason's best of the best.

KP who fought their best did not expect to reach the final games. “Thankful po kami na nakarating kami sa finals, kahit sobrang dami pong magagaling, [we are simply thankful we reached the finals, given that there were many good players]” Cachuela said. Cachuela further elaborates that Triple Threat is his toughest and biggest competition so far, given a roster of good competition among 11 other teams.

KP goes home with a silver finish and with the determination to redeem themselves of a championship in the season proper in August.  Truly, the Maroons will fight again.