Three months from now, former University of the East guard Olan Omiping will celebrate his 10th year with the Philippine National Police as Police Officer 3, serving as a fiscal analyst of the PNP Headquarters Support Service in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
And the proud Tondo, Manila native has already learned to love his profession—something that hardly crossed his mind when he was still a promising Red Warriors guard then.
“‘Yung plano natin minsan, hindi ‘yan ‘yung plano ng Diyos,” said former UE coach Boycie Zamar, who handled Omiping during his stint with the Red Warriors from 2001 to 2003, highlighted by two trips in the Final Four of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
A former UE standout himself who played briefly in the pro ranks, Zamar admitted the basketball fate of Omiping isn’t new to him.
“Hindi naman lahat fortunate makaabot sa PBA. Only a selected few,” he said. “Maraming magagaling na players na hindi umabot sa PBA. Pero marami rin na hindi magagaling ng college sila na sumisikat sa PBA.”
A vital cog in several UE teams teeming with immense talent and big potential but failed to go all the way, Omiping lurked behind the shadows of former UAAP league MVP and current Star Hotshots ace James Yap and more heralded teammates, Paul Artadi, Ronald Tubid and KG Canaleta, during his stint with the Red Warriors.
Zamar, however, admitted Omiping still found a way to make himself a key part of their rotation. “May penetration yan, may tira ‘yan, may depensa ‘yan. Kung si James ay considered na (Allan) Caidic ng UE, siya yung pangalawa,” he said.
His lofty dream of making it to the pro ranks nearly came to reality in 2006 when Omiping was selected 20th overall by the Purefoods Chunkee Giants (currently known as the Star Hotshots) during the annual rookie draft. However, he failed to crack the Giants’ official lineup.
When a door closes, another one opens
A Business Administration, Major in Management degree holder, Omiping tried his luck for the NAPOLCOM examinations as suggested by his father. He went on to make the cut and became eligible for the National Police Training Institute.
Omiping’s hopes of seeing action in the PBA got a new lease of life on his second month of training with NPTI when the Alaska Aces sent feelers to hire him, only for him to turn it down and pursue his budding career as a policeman.
Looking back, Omiping couldn’t help but be satisfied that he made the right choice.
“Mas gugustuhin ko na dito, kasi tuluy-tuloy ang sahod at may job security,” said Omiping. “Doon sa paglalaro ilang taon lang ang kontrata. Kaya parang mas napabuti ako dito.
“Nakikita ko naman ‘yung mga kasabayan ko, wala naman na sila sa limelight. Wala na ring trabaho ‘yung iba”
While he’s been the prime anchor for the PNP Responders in most tournaments that they join, Omiping admitted his education has been his biggest asset.
“‘Yun ang pinakamalaking lesson na natutunan ko sa father ko: Pahalagahan ang edukasyon. Gusto niya ako maka-graduate talaga. ‘Yun na rin kasi ang pinaka-regalo ko sa kanya. Malaking bagay ‘yun at hawak-hawak ko siya sa buong buhay,” he said.
Zamar echoed Omiping’s notion. “Si Olan masipag naman mag-aral. Sabi ko nga sa kanila ‘Hindi man tayo umabot ng championship, ang importante lahat sa inyo makakapagtapos ng pag-aaral. Kasi walang makakanakaw at makakaalis ng degree sa kanila,” he said.
“Wag ka mapu-frustrate kung hindi mo man nakuha ‘yung pangarap mo. May bagay na mas nakalaan na para sa’yo,” Zamar added, recalling what he told Omiping then.
A team player
If there’s one key aspect as a basketball player that Omiping has been applying on his current job, it’s his willingness to work with his fellow officers.
“‘Yung basketball ginagawa ko na parang buhay ko. No man is an island, di ba? So lahat ng galaw mo parang team effort. ‘Yung trabaho ko sa PNP, ganun rin,” he said.
“May kanya-kanya kaming role para gumalaw ‘yung opisina namin. ‘Yun ang na-adapt ko. Napaka-importante ng role ko para tumakbo ang opisina. At para maging successful ang team you have to know your role and dapat mayroong team effort.”
Although he’s not seeing action in the country’s biggest basketball stage, Omiping has made a name for himself by asserting his dominance in the PNP’s inter-unit competitions and public service-based tourneys like the UNTV Cup.
A proud husband of Sheryl and a hands-on father to their two children, Omiping, who will turn 36 next month, shared he’s also relishing his life as a family man.
“Nagkaroon ako ng direksiyon. Ngayon naka-focus ako sa family ko. Itinataguyod ko sila at gusto ko talaga silang bigyan ng magandang buhay,” he said. – Jerome Lagunzad
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