ST. LEO, Fla. – Philip and Alex Buque grew up playing hockey in the winter, lacrosse in the summer.
Alex played varsity and is a superstar goalie in the National Lacrosse League; now, younger brother Philip is taking his shot with the Saint Leo University Lions.
“I was getting such a good opportunity here, I couldn’t give it up – something I thought I needed to do,” Philip Buque explains. “My brother influenced my decision, too.. I got to watch him win some championships over the years, so that’s what I’m striving to do here.”
The Whitby, Ont., native started here just eight weeks ago, and is making the strategic transition from hockey and box lacrosse to field lacrosse.
“He’s very experienced in the indoor game, not as experienced in the outdoor game,” maintains Brad Jorgensen, head coach of the Saint Leo men’s lacrosse team. “The biggest challenge for Phil, he just had a late start compared to the rest of the team.. Every day that he’s been out, you can see him taking giant steps.”
Among Buque’s accomplishments are earning Onondaga County All-Conference team and playing Junior A box lacrosse for the Kitchener-Waterloo Braves. For the first part of this school year, he played hockey for the St. Marys Lincolns in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League while completing extra high school courses.
The attackman’s multidisciplinary background gives him a distinctive offensive edge on the field.
“He’s not the biggest kid on our roster, but certainly not afraid of contact,” Jorgensen admits. “That’s a hockey upbringing – not afraid to stick his nose in there when the ball’s on the ground or when things get tough.”
Philip Buque is making his mark early at Saint Leo: he scored ten points in his four games to date, and has big goals for himself.
“Hopefully, I’ll get [to] the rookie alpha conference. I want to break some records here, too – the [Lions’ single game] points record, beat my captain and good friend, Jake Gilmour.”
Gilmour, the Lions’ current team captain and fellow Ontarian, thinks highly of Buque, too.
“I like him – good guy, works hard,” Gilmour describes Buque.
For now, Buque is soaking it all in by the lacrosse field, his favourite place on campus.
“It’s always an exciting atmosphere,” he says. “There’s no place better, right?”