This appears on philstar.com
Q&A with new Ateneo Blue Eagle Raffy Singson-Verano
by rick olivares
We got to speak to the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ new recruit, Raffy Singson-Verano about life in California and the decision to go to the Philippines and play for the blue and white.
Rick: Tell us something about yourself. Why basketball? Growing up in the US, sports is huge. Why not football, soccer, baseball, or even hockey? If you did play other sports what would they be and what position/s did you play?
Raffy: I started in the 3rd grade, fell in love with the sport and that was it. When I was in 7th grade I joined an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) travel team, the California Heat. School-wise, I played my freshman to Junior year at Bellarmine Jefferson HS in Burbank after which I transferred to San Gabriel Academy High School for my Senior year.
I like to listen to music in my downtime and play video games. My favorite Filipino food is beefsteak. I also like Dinuguan and pork barbecue on a stick.
As for sports, I played flag football in elementary along with basketball but never really took a liking to football. My passion was always basketball.
Rick: If you can kindly share something about your parents -- their names, what do they do, siblings.
Raffy: My dad is Michael "Mike" Triplitt Verano he went to La Salle Greenhills for high school and University of the Philippines for College. My dad played basketball and volleyball though for him volleyball was his passion he played for the UP Maroons that won the Back to Back UAAP titles in 1977-78, they continued to win in '79 and '80. During this time he also had the opportunity to play for the National Team. Prior to leaving for the United States he coached the UP Men's Volleyball team for four years.
My mom is Therese Singson-Verano who grew up in Baguio and attended high school and college at UP Baguio. She works in the Healthcare arena. She is the "Queen" of the family as we are a family of four boys . My brothers are Miguel and Luigi who both still get to play basketball in the adult leagues over here. I am the third son with our youngest, Christian who is 11 years old who also plays ball.
Rick: What is your favorite NBA team and who are your basketball influences and idols?
Raffy: I like Oklahoma Thunder. As for the influential people in my life, this started with my AAU Coach Keith Higgins who by the way played pro in the Philippines for a few months I think in the 90's. He pushed me to get better and brought out the drive and motivation in me to never give up no matter what was in my path. He also prepared me mentally for the next level and always reminded me to stay humble and grounded.
Rick: Were you aware of UAAP basketball or even Ateneo basketball growing up? Why choose Ateneo? Are you excited to be coming over? I know this is a long ways but is the PBA even in your radar?
Raffy: Yes, I have known about UAAP basketball and volleyball because of my dad. I had a teammate during my sophomore year whose dad once played basketball for the Blue Eagles (Rey Rances). Our parents started talking to each other and as you know, the world is really a small place. They did not only have a lot of friends in common, my mom knew his mom from way back then. One thing lead to another and that was how Ateneo came up. His dad spoke with me and asked if I ever thought of playing in college ball in the Philippines. And as they say the rest is history, I got interested in Ateneo and after meeting Coach Tab Baldwin and getting to know him I knew that I wanted to play for him and the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
I am very excited and look forward to going to the Philippines to make new friends, experience new things and to learn from Coach Baldwin. I am ready to face the challenges and the experiences that come along as I start this new journey. I would like to make my parents proud by making the most of this opportunity after all the sacrifices they have gone through in order for me to pursue my dreams.
In regards, to playing in the PBA I would be lying if I said I wasn't even thinking about it. But at the moment my education and playing for Coach Baldwin and the Ateneo Blue Eagles are my priorities and focus.
Rick: If you can talk about your game some. How you like to play just to give us a glimpse.
Raffy: My game is still evolving, I still have a lot to learn and a lot to master as I move on to the next level and adjust to the collegiate level and the manner of play in the Philippines. I enjoy banging down low to get the rebound and can adapt easily on what needs to be done in the game for the team to win.