02 October 2007

Nelbert "Bitoy" Omolon

Jersey number: 3
Height/Weight: 6'4" 185 lbs.
Age: 27
Date of Birth: 30 June 1980
Hometown: Talakag, Bukidnon
Position: Forward
Years Pro: 3
College: Philippine Christian University
Teams played for in the PBA: Sta. Lucia Realtors

Basketball Career:

Omolon, 26, isn't your regular pro. He didn't learn how to play when he was a kid. He never even liked the game until he shot up from 5-7 as a high school freshman to 6-2 as a junior. That was when Omolon realized he might have a future in basketball.

The youngest of three boys, Omolon was born and grew up in Talakag, Bukidnon, about a 30-minute drive to the Cagayan de Oro airport. His father Gilbert tends to the family's 30-hectare rubber plantation while his mother Nelia does the house chores.

As a boy, Omolon played piko, jolens and habulan. He was introduced to basketball by brothers Allan and Nigel at the age of seven but it wasn't the game for him.

After his height spurt, Omolon decided to try out for the Ateneo de Cagayan basketball varsity under coach Manny Diaz. He moved to Ateneo for his fourth and last year in high school and did well enough to earn an invitation to play for Southwestern University in Cebu.

Omolon, however, was relegated to Southwestern's farm team, prompting Manila-based talent scout Jammy Martinez, a Leyte native, to bring him to Manila for a Philippine Christian University (PCU) tryout in 1997.

Omolon confessed that he didn't tell his parents of his move from Cebu to Manila until a week later. He wanted to make sure he had a spot on the Dolphins lineup before making the call.

For five years, Omolon shone brightly for PCU first under coach Ricky Cui then Jojo Villapando. Omolon gained a reputation as a stopper, a high leaper and a reliable finisher on the break.

Omolon never got to play for an NCAA championship team but remembers fondly his playing days at PCU with another future PBA cager Bernzon Franco, now an Alaska reserve. From PCU, he took his sneakers to the Philippine Basketball League where he suited up for Osaka-La Salle and ICTSI under Coach Franz Pumaren and Welcoat under Coach Leo Austria.

Omolon also played for the ill-fated Cebuana Lhuillier national team that finished second to last at the FIBA-Asia Championships in 2003 under coach Aric del Rosario.

His only taste of victory came in 2003 with the Lhuillier squad that hardly raised a sweat in bagging the Southeast Asian Basketball Association title.

In 2004, Omolon was picked on the first round by Sta. Lucia in the PBA draft ahead of Wesley Gonzales, Gary David, Paul Artadi, Carlo Sharma, Manny Ramos and Willie Wilson. He was the eighth overall choice in the draft that starred Rich Alvarez, James Yap and Marc Pingris.


Realtors coach Alfrancis Chua took Omolon under his wing and worked on developing his all-around game. As a rookie in 2004-05, Omolon averaged 6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 20.9 minutes. He shot .447 from the floor and .578 from the line. The next season, he raised his numbers to 8.1 points and 5.2 rebounds. He hit .489 from the field and .598 from the stripe.

This season, Omolon is averaging 9.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 21.6 minutes. He's shooting .518 from the field and .628 from the line. All his stats are career highs.

Not reflected in the stats are Omolon's contributions in defense -- his deflections, his denial of offensive position, his intimidating presence.

"I owe coach Al a lot," said Omolon in Pilipino. "He showed me how to play gutsy, how to play hard without backing down. He made me gain confidence in my ability to play defense. My role in the team is to play defense. If I score, that's just a bonus. My job is to try to shut down scorers like Gary (David) and K. G. (NiƱo Canaleta)."

Although Omolon isn't a go-to guy on offense, he has shown the ability to score, too. He registered a career-high 30 points last season. In the knockout duel against Air21 last week, Omolon failed to score but made his presence felt in other facets of the game. He grabbed six rebounds, broke up several plays and helped limit Ranidel de Ocampo to nine points, way below his 16.6 clip.

Source: Mostly taken from an article entitled, “A stopper named Bitoy” by Joaquin M. Henson, "Sporting Chance", The Philippine Star 19 January 2007


  1. congrats hope you will be more successful God Bless

  2. galinagan u sa sunud na comperence hah idol

  3. add u nman ako sa fienster u,ininvite kta e

  4. kylan ka nga pla ulit sasali sa slamdunk competion.......

  5. dapat ma break u ung career high u na 40 points para mas mgaling