UV finds future star in rookie

Jonas N. Panerio

THE University of the Visayas (UV) has always been a hotbed for talented guards with an impressive list of alumni led by UAAP Mythical Five member Rey Anthony Suerte, Mark Ababon, Harold Cortes and John Abad just to name a few.

The Green Lancers may have just uncovered their next great court general in Gabriel Cometa, a rookie who is playing like a seasoned veteran this season in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) men’s basketball tournament.

Although third in the pecking order of guards behind veterans Sheldon Gahi and Gileant Delator, Cometa still managed to grab the spotlight with his performance in the semifinals against the University of Cebu last Thursday, Nov. 14.

With the Green Lancers needing a spark after a sluggish first period, Cometa came in and injected UV with a jolt of energy en route to an 81-62 win that kept their title defense alive and sent the semifinals to a do-or-die ballgame on Saturday, Nov. 16.

All told, Cometa scored 16 points but more than the numbers were his speed that kept UC on its heels and composure that steadied the Green Lancers when things were initially not going their way.

UV head coach Gary Cortes had nothing but praise for his young guard, going as far as saying that Cometa is going to be a star in the future.

“Gab has a talent and a gift. He can play around with his defenders and is definitely a future star,” said Cortes.

In spite of the praise, Cometa has kept his feet on the ground, explaining that the only “special” thing that he does on the floor is that he prays.

“First of all, the only special thing that I do is that I pray and the only things I place in my mind are the instructions of the coaches. I just keep my focus especially on defense when I have to defend kuya Shane (Menina),” said Cometa in a talk with SunStar Cebu.

Cometa added that he is appreciative of the opportunity that his coaches give him and the trust that his teammates have in him.

“I’m just grateful to coach Gary for the trust that he has in me especially in crucial games. I am also thankful to coach Jonel (Maglasang) and Jun (Pepito) for always guiding me especially when it comes to the adjustments that need to be made.”