Janella Viado, starting point guard for the UTM Lady Eagles, spoke with The Medium about life on and off the court. Viado is entering her fourth year and is currently completing a double major in psychology and CCT, as well as a minor in business, science and entrepreneurship. Viado hopes to one day open her own sports clinic to help athletes who need assistance.
Viado’s Filipino community and supportive family helped expose her to basketball from an early age. Her family “understood the importance of athletics,” and when accompanying her older brother to his own basketball practices, Viado was always itching to play. “I was an active kid. Even now, whenever I don’t have anything to do, I just get so bored.”
Viado started off playing house league basketball but she was ambitious. She remembers watching the NBA in 2012 and being inspired by the Miami Heat’s big three. “Watching players like LeBron dominate the game, I wanted to be like him, and it made me want to push what I was doing with basketball further,” she says.
“Around 2018 is when I was considering which university to attend,” says Viado. Although the programs offered at UTM were unique and garnered her attention, the basketball team was a big factor in her decision. “UTM has the best opportunity […] to both compete and study,” says Viado. “It felt right for me,” she continues, “and the coaching staff is so great, I don’t know how they do it.”
With the unfortunate timing of the Covid-19 pandemic, athletes have long been starved of the competition they desire. Some of the Lady Eagles’ key players have now graduated and moved on from basketball and Viado feels their absence.
“They helped my confidence a lot. They could tell when I was thinking about it too much and would reassure me that I can play, and play well,” says Viado on the impact of her senior teammates. “They helped me get involved with things around campus instead of just being on the team.”
When it comes to how the team is going to look moving forward, Viado believes the new players have really good work ethic. “I feel like I became sort of like an accidental mentor. It wasn’t on purpose, but I think I rub off some of the things that I learned from the people I look up to.” Viado hopes that the combination of a good work ethic and strong role models will prepare the team to succeed in their upcoming seasons.
A welcoming place for newcomers, and a place to call home for the people who return, the UTM community is one of the strongest assets of this school. “[My] overall experience with the UTM Athletics community has been great,” says Viado.
Janella Viado gives thanks to the basketball and athletics community that she’s been a part of. Also working part-time as a lifeguard, the combination of employment, school, and athletics have forced her to manage her time efficiently and stay organized. When Viado completes her undergraduate degree, she looks forward to pursuing her master’s in counselling and/or clinical psychology.
We wish Janella and all the student athletes on campus the best of luck for this school year and the years to come!