Paolo Orbeta leaves past nightmares, treads new basketball path
MANILA, Philippines – With a lingering feeling that his basketball career is not yet over, former De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB) cager Paolo Orbeta has decided to form the Makati City Skyscrapers team, which will debut in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) on Tuesday, June 19.
The former playmaker had a slew of heartbreaks in his playing career that was first marred by game-fixing and extortion charges in 2007 when he was just in his second year with the CSB Blazers. Although he eventually won the case, he was let go by the team.
"I think that failure, naging (it became) just a motivation for me to really excel in the field that I want," said
Orbeta always had that itch to redeem himself in the sport. In 2014, he applied for the PBA draft, but was left undrafted. It took 4 years before his undying passion for the sport led him to grab another golden opportunity.
"The history of this team is that it started with a very very wonderful idea," said Orbeta.
"When I had this opportunity, I called my best friend Martin Arenas since we both love playing basketball, [and I asked him], 'why don’t we put up a team?'"
With the establishment of the Makati Skyscrapers, Orbeta hopes his players will get the most out of their stint. While the co-owner wants his team to come out competitive in its maiden run, he also doesn't mind if the players' exposure in the MPBL eventually leads them to the PBA.
"May opportunity na ako as a team owner na makapag-produce ng at least sana 5 PBA players. That’s my goal right now," said Orbeta.
(As a team owner, there's an opportunity for me to produce, hopefully, at least 5 PBA players. That’s my goal right now.)
So even if his playing career got cut short, Orbeta relishes his new role that also gives his 8-year-old son Grey – whom he once wished to be cheering for him in the PBA – a new perspective into the sport.
"As you can see, my son right here, para sa kanya yun eh. For him to watch talaga. Kung nakapag-PBA sana ako or pro, it’s for him to watch me play," explained Orbeta.
"Pero ang binigay sa akin ng Panginoon is makikita ng anak ko 19 players [who have] the right mindset and very good attitude, so he has someone to look up to."
(As you can see, this is for my son right here. It's for him to watch the game. If I made it to the PBA or the pros, it's for him to watch me play. But what God gave me is for my son to see 19 players who have the right mindset and very good attitude, so he has someone to look up to.) – Rappler.com