Despite odds, 43-year-old fulfills dream of joining PBA Draft | Inquirer Sports

Despite odds, 43-year-old fulfills dream of joining PBA Draft

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 05:31 PM October 27, 2016

43-year-old Charlie Caluya fulfills dream of joining PBA Rookie Draft. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

43-year-old Charlie Caluya fulfills dream of joining PBA Rookie Draft. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Among the 50 plus applicants aspiring to make the PBA, an unknown hopeful stood out.

At 43-years-old, Charlie Caluya looked like the unlikeliest player in the court as he joined and tried to compete against others half his age.


Caluya was unheard of until he became center of the media attention in the two-day 2016 Draft Combine.


“Actually, longtime dream ko ‘to e,” said Caluya. “Hindi ko alam paano mag-apply sa draft noon pero I never stopped playing basketball. I never stopped dreaming. Sabi nga nila wala sa edad yan kung mangarap ka, as long as binigyan ka ng talent ni Lord, gamitin mo.”

Caluya said he’s not giving his PBA dreams a shot for himself but he’s doing it for the kids at his community in Sitio de Asis San Martin de Pores in Bicutan, Parañaque.

“Actually hindi naman talaga ‘to para sa akin. Para sa mga kababayan ko na mga bata. Kasi may mga kids sa amin na hindi na nagaaral e. So gusto ko silang tulungan. Paano ko sila matutulungan wala naman akong trabaho? Naisip ko, binigay sa akin ni Lord ‘to, mag-try ako dito. Kung papalarin, matutulungan ko sila.”

But Caluya’s PBA hopes have been dashed even before the draft day.

Caluya was not allowed to partake in the mini tournament on Thursday after failing to meet the standards set in the first day of the Combine.

“He’s not fit to play based from the tests that were done yesterday by Focus Athletics. Today, we wanted him to observe and watch the games for the mean time,” said PBA deputy director for basketball operations Eric Castro.


But the PBA official said that as of the moment, Caluya is still part of the list of the PBA draft hopefuls.

He was with his friends looking for tickets to Game 4 of the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals when he decided to apply for the draft.

“Nung nag-apply ako sa (draft), actually bibili lang kami ng ticket e. Nung una naghe-hesitate pa e kasi hindi naman ako kilala. Sino ba naman ako diba?” he recalled.

“After noon hindi ko na alam anong gagawin. Nakita ko na lang sa internet na kasama ako sa 55 applicants. Nung una hindi ako naniniwala sa mga pino-post ng barkada ko until ako mismo nag-search. At least blessing na rin ‘to sa akin.”

Caluya never played high school and collegiate basketball. His playing experience is only at his barangay, where he’s fondly referred to as “Kobe.”

“Kasi sa community namin may basketball court doon na katatayo lang, sa tabing-riles. Yung mga bata pag naglalaro ako tinatawag akong Kobe. By the way, ang tawag sa akin Kobe Charles kasi ang ultimate idol ko si Kobe Bryant e.”

Caluya has Jayjay Helterbrand, Mark Caguioa and Asi Taulava — the elder statesmen in the PBA — as his inspiration.

It’s highly likely that Caluya, the smallest applicant at 5-foot-6, is going get drafted. But he said the experience of sharing the same court with some of the future of Philippine basketball alone is already something he would treasure.

“Parang panalo na rin ako kasi to be around this bunch of rookies talagang magagaling sila. Ako wala naman akong pinanggalingan kundi sa maliit na barangay,” he said.

“Hindi man ako makuha, nandito na ako e. Pero siyempre ang ultimate goal ko is to play sa PBA, to give the fans total entertainment. Kasi when I play basketball, I play with the crowds also. Ako talaga yung [weakest] dito e, kaya ipapakita ko na lang game ko e.”

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The PBA will release the final list of applicants on Friday.

TAGS: court, PBA, PBA Draft

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