MANILA, Philippines --- Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) football sensation Ignatius Michael Ingles was at the height of his sports career - playing for both international and local football leagues - when he made a crucial decision to temporarily leave the sport he loved and take up law.
Ingles, who topped the 2012 bar examinations, said both sports and law school should have an undivided attention and thus, he admitted that leaving football is one of the tough choices he made.
After all, Ingles had made a name for himself in the Philippine football scene as the star of the ADMU football team in the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) who led his team to back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006.
He had also played in China for the Italian Azzuri Team of the Shanghai International Football League and UFL Division 2 in the country.
So when he was asked why he decided to temporarily drop his sport over law school, Ingles said, ''If I do things half-heartedly, of course I expect to have half-hearted result.''
''Although, there were times in law school that I would rather be playing in the football field than study in the library but it worked out well,'' he said.
He also admitted feeling the pressure to join the ranks of two of his friends in Ateneo de Manila High School, who both happened to be bar topnotchers in the two previous years.
He was referring to Cesareo Antonio Singzon Jr. and Raoul Angelo Atadero, who topped the 2010 and 2011 bar examinations, respectively.
All three - Singzon, Atadero, and Ingles -took their pre-law courses at the Ateneo de Manila University.
''Kabarkada ko si Ari Singzon. Tapos yung last year si Mr. Atadero is my close friend,'' Ingles said.
''I'm very happy that for the last two years the topnotchers are Ateneans and my friends. Pinag-uusapan nga naming kanina na naka-3peat kami,'' he added.
The 29-year-old grandson of former Ambassador Jose Ingles, who was the salutatorian of ADMU Law School Batch 2013, garnered the highest grade among the 949 law graduates who passed the 2012 bar examinations.
Now that he was able to pass the bar examinations, Ingles said he will continue working for Salvador and Perez law firm, which is based in Makati City.
When asked if he plans to work in the government, the bar topnotcher said that he is not keen on joining the government.
On his future plans, Ingles dreams of pioneering a specialization in sports law, which he said was lacking in the country.
''I was hoping na magkaroon ng jurisprudence on sports law or cases. Laws that would regulate and govern sports law here,'' he explained.
Bar No. 2 Catherine Beatrice King Kay, the valedictorian of Ateneo Law School Batch 2013, said the news that she was among the bar topnotchers was first relayed to her not by relatives or friends but by a television reporter.
King Cay, who at first thought the news was a prank, admitted that it took several minutes for her to digest the information given to her by GMA-7 television reporter John Consulta as she was still half-asleep that time.
''A day before the bar examination results were announced, I did lots of work, going places like work then in Tagaytay. So the result is I was really tired and overslept until 10 a.m. Then my phone started ringing incessantly and when I answered it, a male voice started congratulating me, and I was confused. Then it turned out that he was a reporter and he informed me that I placed second in the bar exams,'' she said.
Like most of the bar topnotchers, King Kay said that the news really took her by surprise.
''I know I did my best during the bar examinations, but I never expected that I will have a place in the bar exams,'' she admitted.