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Axel Iñigo is hoping to make all his teammates happy

by Jim Lemuel Wilson, July 17, 2019 3:45pm

Pasay Voyagers point guard Axel Iñigo is hoping to become a better point guard and make his teammates happy as prepares to join the Philippine Basketball Association one day.

Fresh out of his stint with the Wangs’ Basketball team in the PBA Developmental League, the younger of the Iñigo brothers is now working on becoming a steady point guard for coach Marlon Martin and the Voyagers in the Maharlia Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Cup.

The former Far Eastern University Tamaraw has always been a backup point guard, the floor leader of the second group after the starting five has sat down. But that only makes him want to improve even more.

“Kasi simula nung college talagang second group na point guard ako. So I’m eyeing na maging first point guard, na maging starting point guard. Kailangan ko lang mag-improve nang mag-improve, na mas maging steady, mas ma-execute ko yung [system ng] team,” Iñigo said in an exclusive interview with Courtside Philippines.

“Mas maging solid ‘pag nasa court ako, mabigyan ko yung teammates ko ng open shots. Gusto ko kasi yung team ko, ‘pag nasa court kami, masaya sila. Yung nag-e-enjoy sila,” he continued.

This does not mean that Iñigo will shy away from scoring opportunities, even on the biggest of moments, but he is keeping his goal straight; he wants to be the best extension of coach Martin on the floor.

“Kung may pagkakataon umi-score, siguro iga-grab ko. Pero ang target for improvement ko, mas maging steady point guard pa din. Kasi pagdating sa PBA yun yung kailangan pa din,” he said.

 

Iñigo started playing basketball right at the moment that he can hold and throw a basketball at a very young age. And while growing up, he always looked up to his older brother Achie, who also turned out to be quite a baller. With Achie playing for the Rizal Golden Coolers, Axel does not intend to back down when their paths cross.

“Kasi pag nasa court ka, kahit yung bestfriend mo, walang sinu-sino. Kasi yung pride mo sa basketball, ayaw mo namang magmukhang tanga, na papanisin ka lang o da-drive-an ka lang. Siyempre yung pride namin, lalo na si kuya (Achie) at ako, yung pride namin as a player, yung passion namin sa nasketball, hindi kami magpapatalo sa isa’t isa,” the younger Iñigo said.

“Ganun din naman kami kahit nung bata kami. ‘Pag alam niya nang pa-iyak na ako, talagang titirahin ko na siya. Matatawa na lang siya. Kailangan yung pride pa din nandun 'pag magkalaban kami kahit pa magkapatid kami. Kaialangan mag-compete pa din kami para matuto kami,” he added.

The Iñigos learned basketball from the stern hands of their parents, and they both are reaping the fruits of their labor at a young age.

“Bata pa lang kasi kami minulat na kami ng parents ko na mag-basketball. Kasi hindi naman kami ganun kayaman. Kailangan namin mag-basketball, magsumikap para makakuha kami ng scholarship, kasi hindi kaya ng parents ko na mapag-aral kamil,” Axel said.

“So yung daddy ko, matalino. Minulat niya kami sa basketball ni kuya. Dati hindi kami pwede lumabas ng hapon pag hindi kami nag-shooting nang umaga, hindi kami makikipaglaro sa mga tropa namin. Kailangan mag-shooting kami nang umaga para makalabas kami,” he added.

Now, Axel is thankful that his father did what he did.

“So ayun, masaya naman kami na nakarating kami dito ni kuya, nakaapag-aral kami. Ngayon kumikita na, nakakatulong ako sa parents ko, nakaka-ahon din sa buhay. Tapos love mo yung game. Yung kung paano ka kumikita, gusto mo,” Iñigo said.

“Yung iba kasi nagta-trabaho hindi naman nila gusto, hindi naman nila mahal [yung trabaho nila]. Kami mahal [namin yung trabaho namin],” he said.

Axel is hoping that his MPBL stint will be a fruitful one as it will be a good preparation for him for the PBA.

“Marami akong matututunan dito kasi yung mga kalaban hindi kung sinu-sino lang. Mga beterano, mga ex-pro. May mga galing din sa collegiate [basketball] na magagaling din talaga," he said.

"Talagang matututo ako dito, makukuha ko yung experience, yung physicality, yung pagiging smart mo sa laro. Lalo na yung mga game na dikdikan. Yun talaga yung mage-gain ko dito, yung experience kasi nga, hopefully, makapagpa-draft ako,” he said.

Iñigo, however, does not want to rush things. He wants to be as ready as can be before making the jump to the pro league.

“Baka next year, pero depende pa din sa performance ko. Ayoko ko din isipin na kaya ko na mag-PBA, gusto ko nagbe-base talaga ako sa present e. So kailngan ko pang matuto, mag-ensayo. Kailangan keep on learning para, hopefully, ma-draft.”

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