Palo Alto basketball students gain motivation

By Isaiah Alonzo
Pulse staff reporter

Players at practicePalo Alto College Men’s Basketball team aims to sharpen students’ skills both on and off the court.

Currently sitting at a 5-4 record in conference play, Palo Alto’s basketball team is improving and learning through each experience. Every loss and every win provides valuable information to keep moving forward, not only as a team, but as individuals, as well.  

Coach Butch Cook, now in his second year serving as head coach of the team, sees this team not only as an opportunity for students to play sports, but to get them motivated to stay in school and better their future.

“The reason why I’m coaching here…the reason why we have basketball…is because there’s gonna be kids that would not have come to school if it wasn’t for the basketball team,” Cook said. “I guarantee you right now, two or three of my players would not have come to college if we didn’t have this basketball team. So that’s what it’s all about.”

Cook said that support from PAC’s student body could be better.

“It would be nice to have some more people in the gym, of course,” said Cook. “If we win a few more games, maybe get some more marketing, I think people will come.”

Not many students are aware of what goes on with the team. Some students know about PAC basketball, but some have no clue that we have a team.

Gabriel Figueroa is a 21-year-old Social Work major, and he also believes that the team could gain some support if they were promoted the right way.

“I would love to go to a school basketball game,” said Figueroa. “I just don’t know when or where the games occur. I actually don’t know much about the team at all. I think there should be some sort of fliers or posters around the school. That way people know what’s going on. It could create some sort of buzz.”

This year Coach Cook went out and recruited players to come play for PAC, something he did not do the previous year.

One of these players is 18-year-old Esdras Laboy, who is from Puerto Rico, a place he spent his entire life up until his senior year of high school.

“My sister lives here…and I came for vacation and decided to come live here for a better future, and my mom supported me with the decision,” said Laboy.

As he got closer to graduation, Laboy was presented with the opportunity to play and study at PAC.

“I didn’t know what college I was going to until Coach Cook went and recruited me at my high school,” said Laboy. “Then when I got to PAC, I was more excited to start school than basketball.”

In order for students like Laboy to play on the team, they must maintain a “C” average.

Coach Cook has a specific vision in mind when it comes to PAC basketball.

“I want it to be where they know we play here…where they want to come and play for PAC,” Cook said. “If we give them a Palo Alto Basketball shirt, I want it to be where they wear it with a sense of pride to represent our college.”

There are two games left in the fall semester: one on Dec. 3 vs. Schreiner JV, and the other on Dec. 8 vs. Ft. Sam. The season will continue in the spring.

For pre-and post-game updates, visit Facebook.com/PACMensBasketball, and for general information, contact Palo Alto Campus Recreation at (210) 486-3805.

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