SportsGabby Reyes: Come fly with me
Gabby Reyes: Come fly with me
April 28, 2013
April 28, 2013

Photo by Kristine BarreiroAfter appearing in just one game last UAAP Season for the DLSU Green Archers, former DLSZ Junior Archer standout Gabby Reyes has taken advantage of the increased playing time given to him by coach Gee Abanilla during the ongoing Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-season Premier Cup.

 

The incoming sophomore has been a dominant force on the basketball court for the Green Archers, scoring in double figures in every game of the tournament thus far via a mix of athletic drives and consistent outside shooting.

 

The high-flying Reyes is no stranger to the spotlight after being a part of the UAAP Mythical Five during his high school years; his experiences in Zobel have helped him cope with the greater demands of the Seniors level of which he is now part.

 

An early start

Reyes started dribbling a basketball at the tender age of two years old and says that he molded his game after Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan. For the highflying Reyes, Jordan motivates him because of how he always worked hard to climb to the top.

 

“I’ve always looked up to Michael Jordan. Until now he’s still the best player [to have played] in the NBA and he’s a really good motivation to me because he didn’t make it to his high school team but then, he became the best player in the NBA,” Reyes shares.

 

The six-foot-three forward had his first varsity basketball stint with PAREF Southridge School, where he joined the team in the fourth grade up until his first year of high school. While here, he was selected to be a part of the RP under-16 team, where he teamed up with the top talents in the country from his age group.

 

He then decided to transfer to De La Salle Zobel for his sophomore year of high school, and the Junior Archers gained a remarkable yet disciplined athlete who was fresh off his growth spurt. Unfortunately, he had to sit out one year to serve his residency but once he set foot on the UAAP court, he never looked back.

 

Reyes fondly recalls his rookie year in Zobel, where he made a season-high 29 points in a victorious game against the FEU Baby Tamaraws, despite playing with a sprained ankle. The exploits of the King Junior Archer eventually caught the eye of several universities; in the end, he decided to stay with La Salle.

 

Rookie struggles

During Season 75 of the UAAP, Reyes was able to play in just one game – against the UE Red Warriors in the second round. During his brief stint on the court, he managed to make his first basket as a Green Archer after Almond Vosotros found him for a fadeaway jumper on the right elbow after cutting through the paint.

 

Despite being the go-to-guy in high school, the incoming sophomore forward has undergone struggles of his own, especially during his first season, and explains how playing in the collegiate level is very different from high school. “When it comes to college, it’s like the cream of the crop. So it’s the best of the best where each [player] was a go-to-guy, [and are now] all in one team,” Reyes shares.

 

Not knowing what to expect from his collegiate opponents, he struggled mentally with his confidence at the onset. In addition, the coaches advised him to keep up physically by gaining more weight so he can match his opponents, quite literally, pound for pound.

 

Now that Reyes has gained valuable experience from his rookie year, he has slowly climbed his way to more playing time for the Green and White. The graduation of skipper Joshua Webb also helped Abanilla find room for the versatile Reyes in the rotation.

 

“Last year, I didn’t start the year the way I wanted to, so I told myself that one year of sitting on the bench is enough. It’s about time to show them who I really am and how I really play,” Reyes says.

 

Ready for the limelight

Regardless of the struggles of Reyes during his rookie year in DLSU, the talented Green Archer pushed himself to meet his potential and has steadily improved over the past months. The scary thing though is that it seems like he has yet to scratch the surface of his talent.

 

After a year of watching from the sidelines in his warm-ups, Reyes regained his confidence with the help of his supportive coaches. “They really kept telling me that they see potential in me. I just needed to show it, but I couldn’t [last season], so they kept pushing me. After a year, I was able to prove them,” Reyes explains.

 

With the UAAP Season getting closer and closer, Reyes will be banked on to continue his steady contributions in the big league in La Salle’s bid to get back on top of the heap. The athleticism of the incoming sophomore will be an indispensable new weapon in Abanilla’s offensive attack and will surely give opponents a match-up nightmare.

 

Reyes ends saying, “I know I could’ve helped my team last year but I didn’t get a chance. But this year, with an open spot, I can actually get more exposure. I can really help the team with what I can do.”