Canada is a favourite destination for many Filipinos to go as tourists, international students, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and permanent residents. Some turn their backs to promising careers, like Tristan Perez.
FROM PLAYING IN THE PBA TO DRIVING TRUCKS IN CANADA
Perez was just in his first year of playing in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) when he decided to pack his bags and join his wife in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Growing up in Pampanga, Perez really didn’t get into playing until he was 14 years old.
Standing at 1.96 metres tall, Perez was drafted by Eric Altamirano to play for National University (NU).
Perez helped NU to win the UAAP championship in 2014.
After playing for NU, he moved on to join the PBA’s D-League, playing for BDO-NU and Jumbo Plastic before he went on to join *Blackwater.
A year after playing in the PBA, Perez had to make a choice. His wife was in Canada, pregnant with their first child.
He chose to end his professional basketball career and start a new life with his growing family in Canada.
MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES
Speaking with the Philippine Star, Perez said that it was a difficult decision to make, but practicality won out in the end: “I weighed my options very well. I thought it many times over. My wife was pregnant and it seemed that what I would be getting from a new life in Canada outweighed anything I might earn in the PBA — assuming I play long in the league.”
Perez feels that he made the right decision. The median wage for long haul truck drivers is anywhere from CAD$25.00 to CAD$31.50 per hour (approximately PhP923.87 to PhP1,164.07 per hour), according to the Government of Canada’s official Job Bank.
Doubtful if he makes that much playing as a rookie for the PBA.
“Truck driving is like basketball. You need a lot of rest, at least eight hours of sleep or 10 if you can. When you drive, you have to focus because we drive even during winter and sub-zero temperatures, ” Perez told the Philippine Star. “Of course, our dispatcher will not let us out if road and weather conditions are bad. And we can refuse if we have not gotten enough rest or if it is dangerous.”
Perez doesn’t look back with any regret, instead considered himself extremely fortunate.
“Being a basketball player has opened doors for me. It has helped me get an education, meet people, ” Perez told the Philippine Star. “It does feel great to be recognized in this part of the world… I am blessed.”
Do you think Tristan Perez made the right choice? Sound off in the comments!
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