Green gallery: Andrei Caracut proves it’s more than just basketball

In a team that has always been known for its stacked backcourt, it takes a talented individual to stand out and gain the respect of the La Salle faithful. The stalwart guard Andrei Caracut has been a staple since his rookie year. Known for his three-point shooting and leadership on the court, Caracut will now take on the responsibility of steering a young Green Archers squad to new heights. 

With UAAP Season 82 set to begin this September, The LaSallian catches up with the 5’11” skipper who will be exhausting his final year of eligibility in the upcoming season. Caracut reflects on his modest starting point in the sport, his new role in the team, and how he wants to be remembered as a Lasallian athlete. 

Coming of age

The reliable veteran started his basketball journey at a young age. “Dinadala na ako ng papa ko sa basketball court [when he played]. Na-expose talaga ako dahil sa kanya,” he shares. 

(My dad would bring me to the basketball court. I was really exposed [to basketball] because of him.)

It was his father, Noel Caracut, who pushed him to eventually play the sport as he was not allowed to play during his own youth. “Pinangako niya sa sarili niya na ‘pag magka-anak siya, ibubuhos niya lahat ng support sa basketball,” he emphasizes.  

(He promised to himself that when he has a child, he will pour all his support to basketball.)

At 14 years old, the Quezon native made his way to the city and played for San Beda University’s Red Cubs. Coming from the province, Caracut then had little knowledge of the places in Metro Manila. “[Around] 3 am dumating ako sa Manila. I told the guard, ‘Kuya, sa dorm po ng high school.’ Nagtataka yung kuya guard kasi wala naman dorm ng high school doon—nasa CEU (Centro Escolar University) pala ako,” he recalls. 

(Around 3 am, I arrived in Manila. I told the guard, ‘Kuya, the dorm for the high school students.’ The guard was confused because there’s no high school dorm there—I realized I was actually in CEU.)

Noong panahon na ‘yun natuto ako mamuhay ng sarili. Naging maparaan ako sa buhay. Naranasan ko na maglaba ng napakarami kong damit after training. Pagpakumbaba—‘yan din ang natutunan namin ng mga teammates ko sa San Beda,” he adds. 

(That’s when I learned how to be independent. I became resourceful. I also experienced having to wash so many of my clothes after training. Humility—that’s also what I learned with my teammates from San Beda.) 

Elite company 

After finishing his last year as a Red Cub with a championship and distinguishing himself as one of the best high school players, Caracut was heavily scouted by many schools. Despite this, he chose to don the Green-and-White—which was his childhood dream. He states, “Noong high school hindi ko nga akalain na magugustuhan pala ako ng La Salle. After ng [last] season ko sa high school, sa sobrang gusto ko maglaro sa La Salle, ako na yung kumukulit sa mama ko.” He reveals that he would tell his mother to contact the Green Archers’ coach so that he could play for DLSU. 

(Back in high school, I never would’ve thought that La Salle would want to recruit me. After my last season in high school, because of how much I wanted to play for La Salle, I was the one bugging my mom.) 

Caracut did not waste any time and was an effective piece in La Salle’s lineup right from the get-go, taking home the Rookie of the Year award back in UAAP Season 78. From there, he proved to be a mainstay despite numerous coaching changes. When talking about his journey, he expresses, “Medyo mahirap yung journey ko. Different coaches [and] iba-ibang players na dumadating, pero masasabi ko na masaya ako sa lahat ng nakasama ko. Nag-grow ako every year sa coaches and sa players.”

(My journey was pretty hard. Different coaches and players came in, but I can say that I am happy with everyone that I’ve been with. I grew every year with the coaches and the players.)

Thinking ahead

Now on his final playing year, Caracut just wants everybody to get involved and execute their roles in the team. “Expectation ko lang is yung lalaban bawat isa sa amin,” he states. As for his new role in leading this relatively young squad of Green Archers, he is more than happy to take on the responsibility and be a good influence on his teammates. 

(My only expectation is that everyone will fight.)

Caracut wants something more to cement his legacy in the Lasallian community other than being a champion. “Gusto ko talaga yung legacy ko masasabi nila na isa akong mabait na tao [and] marunong rumespeto,” he concludes.

(The legacy I want to leave behind is for people to say that I’m a kind person and that I know how to respect others.)

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