Basketball is the Filipino man’s sport. Without a doubt, every young Filipino male have once dreamt of making it to the big league.
Basketball in the Philippines meant fame and fortune, even long after one’s jersey is hung. Nothing unites the country more than the pride and joy that basketball brings and what makes it even more exciting is when big international names take their talents to the Philippines, whether to lend their skills and experience to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) or to provide clinics to a country obsessed with three pointers.
In recent years, Philippine basketball has captured the attention of superstars like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and even former greats like Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson.
The league, which was a firestarter in Asia, continues to rival its international counterparts especially when foreign players are invited to play for local ballclubs. The talent brought in in recent years has definitely improved making games even more exciting for the local fans.
Right in the middle of it is the jovial Sheryl Sanchez Reyes, who is the agent responsible for bringing in international players also known as “imports” to the local scene beefing up the line-up that makes local teams all the more competitive during import laden conferences.
Her latest “kids” Arizona Reid and Justin Brownlee won championships for the San Miguel Beermen and Ginebra Kings respectively in the past year.
Sheryl, the first woman sports agent in the league, made a name for herself after bringing top US talent from the NBA to the Philippines. Initially an agent for top models like Borgy Manotoc and Brent Javier, she stumbled upon being a sports agent serendipitously when a good friend Asi Taulava seek for help in securing a PBA import.
Since then, Sheryl has been given countless opportunities including working with world-famous stars like Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury, that has given her a spotless record in the league.
The Political Science graduate says that being at the top of her game requires two things – dedication and hard
To provide the local ball clubs with the best possible international talent, she makes sure to study each team’s strength and weaknesses so she knows which talent to offer. Her ability to take care of the nitty gritty details has made her the top go to agent in recent years.
When asked if it was challenging to become a woman in the sport, she is quick to say, “Right from the beginning, it was really a challenge. Being a woman in this sport meant that some people didn’t value my opinion because they feel like I don’t know what I am doing. I used that opportunity to learn more about this sport. I travelled and met good mentors such as Bill Duffy, a well known NBA agent, who gave me good advice.”
Persistent to the core, Sheryl’s never-say-die attitude led to more people believing in her, she was also quick to note that it was definitely not an overnight success.
Despite the early challenges, she is quick to say that being a woman in this field brings her pride, “I am very blessed to do what I do. It is not an easy job to manage professional athletes but I love what I do. When people ask me what advice I can give them, I always say to just keep working hard and be hard working. Nothing beats hard work.”
When asked what motivates her, she is quick to say that her family does, “My mom and my brother.
Unfortunately, my brother passed away during the tsunami tragedy in Thailand in 2004 but he continues to inspire me to this day.”
Outside the court, where she is often seen as a strong protector of her ward, Sheryl is jolly and caring to those close to her. She is a devoted daughter to her mom and a ferociously loyal friend to her core group.
Having known Sheryl for over 10 years, I can testify with how caring, kind, and authentic she is despite her tough exterior. This year, she also gave her chance to fall in love again by entering into a relationship with UAAP superstar Papi Sarr from Adamson University.
Sheryl, who has dedicated her whole life to taking care of her mom and perfecting her craft, is proud to put herself first through this relationship. Sheryl says she gains even more insight and dedication from her relationship with the basketball star who led the Adamson Falcons to its first Final 4 appearance in a while, “We’re in the same field and we both learn from each other.”
When asked what’s next for her, Sheryl smiles and says, “I was offered to train under an NBA agency in the States and Stephon wants me to be the agent of his son one day so maybe I would consider that.”
But for now, Sheryl is simply enjoying the harvest of all the hard work she has invested and we couldn’t help but be inspired.
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