Getting paid to play the sport you love… in the Philippines
By Lindsey Williams | firstname.lastname@example.org
For some, it might take a moment to accept a three-year position to play professional ball across the globe. But for Flagler 2004 graduate Robbie Reyes, the answer came naturally. On Aug. 31, Reyes jumped at the opportunity to play basketball in the Philippines. With nothing more than the lines of modern technology as a means to conduct an interview, Reyes reflects on his new life and shares his adjustments as an American playing a familar sport in a foreign land.
LW: When you received the news that you were going to play ball in the Philippines, what was going through your head?
RR: Well my citizenship kept going back and forth, so when they told me I was cleared to play I was kind of shocked. It had taken such a long time I had almost given up. Once I was actually drafted, though, it felt like a relief. I had worked so hard and waited so long I actually just felt really relieved. It took a few days to sink in that I finally achieved my dream.
LW: Had you ever envisioned yourself in the Philippines playing ball?
RR: Yes. It’s been my dream since as long as I can remember. But it has eluded me for the past couple of years because I had been having trouble getting my citizenship approved. But I thought about playing there all the time, it was always my ultimate goal in athletics. I dreamed of the NBA as a child, but once I got older I just really focused on doing what it took to make it to the Philippines.
LW: Do you think your time with the Saints has prepared you for your time in the Philippines?
RR: Yes. When I was playing for Flagler I learned a lot from Coach Clark, and my teammates, that prepared me for playing in the Philippines. I really learned the value of hard work. I developed a good basketball IQ and played against top talent. Yearly I played against top talent, and yearly I improved. I may not have been a star at Flagler, but I played with several and they made me better.
LW: If anything at all, what things will you miss while playing overseas?
RR: Just certain freedoms: the cleanliness, no traffic, being able to just walk around, the beach, friends and family.
LW: Do you have any advice for any young player that wants to continue playing ball, whether overseas or in the states?
RR: If a young person aspires to be a professional athlete I would suggest a few things. The first is to be prepared to work hard. Very few people are fortunate enough to play professional sports, so you have to set yourself apart. Talent won’t always do it. It’s gonna take a lot of work.
Also, it would be to set short term goals, like making the varsity team of the highschool, then of course college. I tell kids to have that long term, maybe even long shot goal, but to have little goals on the way. You have to walk before you crawl.