It’s 1:29 AM and I have to wake up in roughly 5 hours to go to school. In 9 hours, I have to go through an interview for a position in an organization that I am applying for. This is the first time in over two years where I’ll have to go through an application process for a position. I can’t sleep right now. I’m pretty nervous at the possibility of getting rejected.

I’ve never handled news of getting rejected well. Actually, I don’t handle the topic of rejection quite well. I end up becoming restless, trying to wrap my head around just the possibility. I end up telling myself for a countless number of times, “Lahat naman binigay ko, pero kulang pala.”

Sounds familiar?

Rejection is a near-universal feeling. Chances are, you’ve been in that position at least once in your life. But if you want to name two people who are really suffering from its sting right now, let me introduce you to Calvin Abueva and LA Tenorio.

Calvin and LA have contrasting stories of rejection. LA is a long-time member of the Gilas Pilipinas program, while Calvin is a guy who just recently stormed into the Gilas Pilipinas program. Their time of tenure is different, but the pain remains the same.

Both players have captured the hearts of Filipino basketball fans, albeit in different ways. “Tiniente” Tenorio captured it courtesy of his clutch play and all-around solid floor general abilities. “The Beast” on the other hand embodied the way Pinoys play basketball: smash-mouth, with no care for the world, and most importantly, with a ton of heart.

So when news of them getting cut from the final Gilas Pilipinas roster for the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, a number of fans were immediately outraged with the news. Multiple hot takes were aired online, and people made their cases as to why the two of them should be in the squad, instead of other in the final lineup.

But while a certain segment of fandom was pissed off, how do you think Tenorio and Abueve felt?

Sure, people can say, “The two of them are consummate professionals, they’ll be fine!” That’s true. They are professionals. But what we fail to remember is that they’re also human. They’re humans with emotions. They’re capable of feeling the pain that is brought upon by rejection.

Instead of resting, healing up, and practicing for the next PBA conference, the primary source of their income, all of the members of the 14-man Gilas pool were instead halfway around the world, training their butts off, knowing that not all of them would make the final cut. Already without their families, they risk major injuries, and #mamaru galore, simply because they want to represent the country and flag.

As Calvin Abueva put it ever so perfectly, “Lahat naman binigay ko, pero kulang pala.” They certainly gave it their all. Sadly, it just wasn’t enough.

It’s 1:46 AM and I still can’t fall asleep. I’m still freaking out at the possibility of getting rejected. Sure I’m not facing the possibility of getting rejected for a National Team spot, but I’m still freaking out. As I’ve said, I can’t stand the possibility of rejection. I hate it.

Let me backtrack to something that I said earlier on.

Calvin Abueva and LA Tenorio came into the Gilas Pilipinas program with the possibility of facing rejection. For the 14 players in the pool that was brought to Europe, the simple reality was that two would get cut. It didn’t matter if you were 6’10” or the best Point Guard in Asia. If you didn’t fit with what Coach Tab Baldwin wanted, you were getting the boot. Simple as that.

Even if we air our hot takes online and make our cases for certain players to be removed for the sake of LA and Calvin, we have to remember: no matter what would have happened, there would have been players rejected anyway. It’s a part of the Gilas selection process. It’s a part of basketball.

You know what? It’s a part of life.

Coach Tab said multiple times that one of the hardest things in coaching is having to make cuts. But those cuts have to be made.

Because that’s just how life is.

I guess I just have to accept that it’s part of life. Chances are, Calvin and LA have accepted that it’s a part of life. All of us have to accept that it’s a part of life.

As Calvin Abueva said in his talk with Sports5’s Carlo Pamintuan, “Masakit pero kailangang tanggapin. At least ngayon pwede na ako mag-focus ulit sa PBA team ko.” That’s how it goes right? We fail. We cry. But eventually, we’ll find other things to focus on. Other opportunities that we can look at. Opportunities to become even better.

As they say, fall down seven times, stand up eight. We’ll face rejection, but we’ll surely overcome it.

Pain is temporary, but glory lasts forever. // Tumblr