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Without question, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the entire world in many ways, including the sports industry.
Chooks-to-Go professional dunker David Carlos is no exception.
A staple in Chooks-to-Go’s 3×3 events prior to the pandemic situation, as well as the FIBA 3×3 circuit, Carlos wasn’t spared from the effects of the global health situation when it broke out in March 2020.
He subjected to the most trying of times in his career as a sports man, as most of his events lined up for the calendar year got postponed.
“Medyo mahirap. Noong nag-start yung pandemic, noong nag-lockdown ng March, marami na akong naka-book na event, both locally and internationally,” the 33-year-old dunker recalled on Friday at the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational official draw.
With the entire Metro Manila as well as nearby provinces placed in strict lockdowns and with gyms and basketball courts closed, it was a difficult situation for Carlos to be in.
And for netizens who follow his journey, Carlos could be seen throughout the lockdown just practicing in makeshift courts along streets, wherever possible.
At one point, the former MPBL 5×5 player himself even contemplated retiring for good, as the uncertainty of what follows next after the lockdown presented a real challenge to him.
“Tapos yung resources, sa training, walang gym, walang court, kung ano lang mayroon ako, yun lang ginagawa ko. Tapos, to the point na bandang kalahati rin nasabi ko, talagang magre-retire na ako,” the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup dunk contest bronze medalist shared.
Forturnately for Carlos, staying dedicated to his craft paid off when the Chooks-to-Go 3×3 circuit decided to hold its first event amidst a pandemic last year at the Inspire Academy.
“Parang dati before mag Chooks-to-Go bubble, sabi ko, magre-retire na ako. (Pero) sabi ko, kung kaya ko, kaya ko pa. And sakto a month after ng usap naming (with a Chooks-to-Go 3×3 official), nagkaroon ng bubble (for the 3×3) so doon ko nalaman na parang kaya ko pa,” he said.
From there, he would see better days. A call from FIBA 3×3, which had also returned its World Tour series, would send Carlos to UAE’s capital city, Abu Dhabi to participate in a dunk contest.
Carlos would go toe-to-toe against Ukranian Vadim “Miller” Poddubchenko during the FIBA 3×3 World Tour 2021 Abu Dhabi Masters last October.
Of course, the veteran dunker showcased his signature wares, jumping over a Chooks-to-Go mascot in one of his dunks before leaping over four people and finishing off with a slam for the finale.
“Lahat ng hard work ko during the pandemic, it all paid off,” Carlos mentioned. “As early as noong nagsimula ‘yung World Tour, kahit wala akong tawag, dinouble-time ko na ‘yung training ko kasi alam ko one day, makakatanggap at makakatanggap ako ng call to compete. Hindi ko alam kung kailan kaya tuloy-tuloy lang ako.”
Carlos went on to upset Poddubchenko and win 3,000 US dollars. A fitness trainer himself, Carlos couldn’t help but be emotional when he found out he won.
He would recall the difficult times where all fitness facilities were closed. He even tried crossing borders to other cities just to find places to work out but checkpoints still had prevented him from doing so.
“Kaya noong nanalo ako, na-ignite ‘yung fire sa akin. Naiyak talaga ako eh, kasi isipin mo, lahat ng hirap ko, na maghahanap ako ng weight room, pupunta ako kung saan-saan, mahihirapan ako,” he recalled.
Through it all, it was Carlos’ trust in himself that he could still pull off the remarkable that has led him to still being in action.
Looking ahead, Carlos expects to be part of the 2022 FIBA World Tour circuit again, not done yet as the flames of his career has been reignited.
“Ang goal ko sa sarili ko is pagdating ng mga Masters next year, ready ako. As early as now, pino-program ko na ‘yung katawan ko,” he concluded.
FIBA 3×3 photos
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