Updated: Feb 12, 2019
For every player in Grade 12, the annual seniors night makes an emotional end of the road.
It’s a game where one reflects on the journey that got them there and perhaps what lies ahead in the future. For Nikki Cabuco, it was no different. The future UFV Cascade and MVP of Bballnationals reflected on her time with the Charles Best Blue Devils and her basketball career as a whole.
“It’s a lot of emotions” said Cabuco after the game, struggling not to tear up. “[. . .] This gym has been a second home, I love it here. I’m so sad to say goodbye but I know my last year was with a group of friends that I’m going to treasure for a lifetime.”
“The thing about Nikki is she brings tremendous team energy and makes those around her better” said her head coach at VK Basketball, Anthony Beyrouti. “At the next level her leadership and overall defensive speed will shine through. As a freshman you need to play defence and stay in front of your check. She does that already and will be a great fit for UFV.”
Cabuco took time afterwards to reflect on the people who helped get her to this point. After all, it takes commitment not just from the player but from friends and family around her to get to the level she is at.
“I think of my parents” she said. “They drive me everywhere, I didn't pass my N and they’re still driving me everywhere. I also want to thank all of my coaches [. . .] I’ve gone to all these different places so I’m super excited for all my coaches.”
She pointed to the coaches at VK Basketball for helping her rediscover her love for basketball.
“Before [joining VK], I had a thing where I didn’t have any motivation to play basketball” she explained. “My self confidence was very low. So I think being brought up with Anthony [Beyrouti] and Dany [Charlery] [. . .] they made me feel the love for basketball again.
And although we did travel and had a lot of fun, we also played basketball that was very competitive. It really showed what I loved about basketball, rather than all the negativity that was going through my mind before VK.”
Cabuco continued, saying she sit a sort of mental wall before her time at VK helped her move past it.
“I had hit that phase where my mind was just like ‘I don’t want to go to practice, I don’t want to be yelled at by my coach’” she said. “I’m the type of person where I take everything negatively. Everything going to my head was ‘oh I did this wrong and this wrong.’ I was never thinking about what I did right. And I think VK pushed me to see the good in everything.
Next year, Cabuco will be taking her talents to the University of the Fraser Valley. She’ll be going in with a class that features a lot of the top talent from the BC high school ranks, and Cabuco is eager to make her mark alongside them.
“I’m super excited” said Cabuco. “Jessica Parker, who is one of my best friends outside of basketball as well is going to join me. Deanna [Tuschener], Maddy [Gobeil], I’ve played with them on the provincial team. Coming into that class we know how each other play and I’m super excited. I think the style is going to be fast paced which I’m excited to play.”
One road may have ended, but another road full of possibilities is just ahead for Nikki Cabuco in the game she loves again.
Written by: Nick Bondi