By David Joseph C. Gonzales, The New Builder staff writer
Photo courtesy of the Department of Physical Education and Athletics
Born on January 11, 1989, Mapúa Cardinals forward Kenneth P. Ighalo started playing basketball at the age of 14, or during his sophomore year in high school. He tried it, he said, “out of fun” but never did he think that he would grow to love the sport.
The 6’2” Filipino-Nigerian, who is the eldest in the brood of two, is slowly making a name of his own in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as he delivered strong performance in many of the games.
Undoubtedly the best perimeter defender of Mapúa, Ighalo was one of the leading rebounders at the 1st round of the 88th NCAA season, recording 110 rebounds. He also played for Café France in the PBA D-League.
It was his father who encouraged him to take up an engineering program. Ighalo transferred to Mapúa Institute of Technology from University of Baguio, where he took up electronics engineering. He said Mapúa is one of the best engineering schools in the country.
Ighalo is dedicated to academics and basketball. He said he balances both by focusing on his studies when he is inside the classroom and concentrating on the game when he is playing basketball.
Below are some facts you may want to know about Ighalo.
Birthday: January 11, 1989
Province: La Union
Course/Year Level: Industrial Engineering, 2nd year
When did you start playing basketball? At the age of 14.
Why do you love basketball? It is through basketball that I can express myself.
How many are you in the family? I have one sibling.
What’s your most memorable game? Second round of the NCAA 2010. We were playing against Colegio de San Juan de Letran and we were down by 14 points. Only four minutes left in the clock. But we won the game. It was a come-from-behind win.
From 1 -10, 10 being the highest, how would you rate yourself as a basketball player? Eight. Because I play defense and crash the boards at the same time. Not everyone in our team can do the same role as I do.
Are you into other sports? No.
How do you usually spend your time? In the morning I go to class, then practice in the afternoon, and play computer games in the evening.
How do you balance your study and basketball? When I’m in the classroom, I focus and think only of the lessons. When I’m on the court, I only think of basketball. And when i have school works, I’m trying to finish it as soon as possible.
Why did you choose to play for Mapúa? My dad wanted an engineering course for me so I chose Mapúa because it’s the best engineering school in the Philippines
Do you want to join PBA or other professional leagues someday? Yes, if i can make it. If not, at least, I’m an engineer.
Are you an emotional person? Yes, especially on the court because I want our brotherhood to be solid.
Are you a wacky person? Yes. But most of the time with my teammates only.
What’s your and your team’s goal for 2012 NCAA? To win the championship, any individual award will just be a bonus.
Mapúa Cardinals forward Kenneth P. Ighalo