A DECADE ago, Eric James Acuna and Rama Krishna “RK” Morales were tangling with each other as part of the so-called “Cyber Wars” of the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU). Fast forward today, both are now on the same team battling the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic from the frontline.
Acuna was the top guard for the Informatics International College Icons while Morales was a solid contributor for the STI College Olympians. Together with AMA University, they formed a three-way rivalry among the country’s leaders in computer education.
After a so-so debut season in 2008, Acuna and the Icons quickly became a consistent contender by missing out on the Final Four via a tiebreaker followed by back to back Third Place finishes in 2010 and 2011. Morales joined STI in 2010 and helped the Olympians to back to back Finals appearances before the school went on leave after the 2012 season, joining the Icons which left the year earlier.
After graduating and a brief stint in the PBA D-League, Acuna decided to enlist in the Philippine Army in 2015. Meanwhile, Morales found his way to the Philippine Air Force in 2013.
A1C Morales is currently detailed at Villamor Air Base where he performs administrative duties. Before the pandemic, he was also part of the PAF Basketball Team.
PFC Acuna is stationed at nearby Fort Bonifacio where he does tasks ranging from distribution of relief goods and manning checkpoints. His Icons teammates Mark Montuano and twins Kenny Santos and Toffi Santos also enlisted with him but have since been discharged.
Both players admit that the biggest sacrifice they are enduring right now is separation from their families. This meant a lot of missed birthdays and special occasions, tough indeed but there is a bigger job to be done for the good of the entire country.