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One-and-done Adamson Falcon Val Chauca’s simple goals in UAAP: win the MVP and win a championship

by Jim Lemuel Wilson, September 13, 2019 11:54am

Fil-Peruvian guard Valandre Chauca is hoping to make the most out of his one and only year with the Adamson University Soaring Falcons in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines. And he has two simple yet big goals: win the Most Valuable Player award and help the Falcons win the crown.

With three games played in the season, Chauca admitted that he is still trying to adjust to the league and trying to build chemistry with his teammates.

“I’m still just getting my feet wet. Definitely trying to get chemistry with the other guys. As you can see, we’re not quite there yet. But I think today was a bit of a turning point. I think we’re starting to feel each other more and starting to understand that we can just share the ball and win the game,” Chauca said in an interview with Courtside Philippines after Adamson beat the University of the East Red Warriors to improve to a 2-1 win-loss record.

“You don’t really have to do it by yourself. ‘Cause usually, me, Jerom [Lastimosa], and Jerrick [Ahanmisi] are used to having the ball in our hands. But with us being in the court at the same time, it makes our jobs easier. We’re slowly building chemistry,” he added.

Adjustment is not new for Chauca. Originally introduced to football, Chauca learned the basics of basketball from his Peruvian father. He started playing organized basketball at age 10 in Virginia and was immediately exposed to playing against bigger, taller guys. He developed into a pretty good player, had some success at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School and got about 15 college scholarships offers.

Chauca chose to attend the University of California, Berkeley to take up Legal Studies as he has⁠—he says⁠—a passion for the study of law. He managed to juggle his academic duties with basketball, getting some playing time in his rookie season. In his second year, he saw his minutes reduced before he got hurt in his third year. By his fourth year, UC had a new coach, and—Chauca said—the new mentor didn’t want to have the Fil-Peruvian in the team “for some reason.”

Then, Chauca had a talk his father. They discussed the possibility of having the younger Chauca continue his basketball dream, and they agreed that the Philippines⁠—his mother's home country⁠⁠—was the place to be in.

“I was originally gonna go to La Salle, I think, but at that time, they said that I had to sit out a year, and I didn’t want to sit out a year because I’ve already missed two years. So [to miss a] third year just didn’t make sense. So someone at La Salle knew someone at Enderun, and that’s how I got in contact with Enderun,” Chauca said.

At Enderun, Chauca immediately made a huge impact. He helped lead the team to the Finals of the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities while he was taking up a certificate course in Business Marketing. He also suited up for the school in the 2019 Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League Aspirants' Cup, averaging 24.1 points on 44% shooting from deep, along with 5.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds.

The D-League is also where Chauca caught the eyes of Adamson mentor Franz Pumaren, and it essentially led to him landing a spot on the Falcons’ roster. When Chauca first met with the representatives of Adamson, he was not impressed. It was just like any other meeting, he said. But Chauca became invested in joining the Falcons when he got to know the track record of Pumaren.

Through it all, Chauca has gotten some support from other Fil-Foreigners who have had a lot of success playing basketball in the Philippines.

“It’s just a brotherhood that all the Fil-Ams, whoever’s next, they kind of pass down, take care of the next guy up. They kind of guide them and show them the way to be well-respected and to also be successful in the pro game here,” Chauca said.

“It’s just kind of something that happens naturally, organically. I knew Simon Enciso, Simon knew Sol Mercado. I kinda knew Gabe [Norwood] already because he played in Virginia, played at George Mason. And Chris Ross I met through Simon. So that’s how kind of the whole brotherhood started,” he added.

Chauca has his eyes set on joining the pro league, and he knows that the way he performs in the UAAP level can largely affect his stock. That’s why he is aiming for the biggest trophies out there.

“My goal is to win MVP personally, and obviously the team goal is to win the championship,” he said.

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