By Rieze Rose T. Calbay
Photos by Kerwin Patrick C. Mercadal

JUST DO it. This is the credo Rudy Yu has always lived after. Using the techniques he got as a former UST basketball player and a Management student from the College of Commerce, he managed to overcome many hurdles to shoot way to success in business.
Today, not only does Yu own a growing franchise of the popular Dickies garments; he is also the owner of a Vietnamese restaurant Pho Sai Gon on Banawe St, Quezon City.
“Life is just like a game where there are unexpected occurrences,” said the Filipino-Chinese entrepreneur. “So you have to be prepared and come up with many techniques to win.”

Real game
For two years, Yu played for the UST’s men’s basketball team under the Santo Domingo de Guzman scholarship, which gave him the opportunity to finish college in 1984.
“I am very thankful that UST offers such programs for its students,” he said. “It was very helpful because living life without much money is never easy.”
He was also as thankful for the education he received from the University.
Yu credits his UST mentors for teaching him that success depends much on doing the things close to one’s heart.
Perhaps as a way of bringing back his good old days in UST, he has become one of the managers of the UST Growling Tigers.
“When that offer came to me, I did not think twice of accepting it,” he said. “I have always wanted to mix my profession with the one thing I love—basketball.”
Yu regularly sponsors the Tigers, hosting their planning and other meetings at his restaurant.
Like other successful entrepreneurs, Yu started at the bottom of the corporate ladder. He first worked as a direct selling and marketing person for Avon. This brief stint, he said, helped him gain confidence and experience in dealing with different people, which is important in business.
After a few years in the corporate world, he put up his own business–franchising Dickies garments from the US.
He set up his first outlet in his hometown in Lipa City, Batangas. He initially sold Dickies’ underwear for men and women. He then expanded his business. Today, Dickies has shops in major malls and department stores.
“It’s a matter of targeting your customers to improve your sales”  Yu explained about his success in business.
Yu said it was to keep up with friendships that led him to the restaurant business.
“I believe that friends should always be for keeps,” he said. “That’s why I contact them for food tripping and tête-à-tête.
It all started after a memorable trip Yu had in Vietnam. There, he and his friend stumbled acroaa a long line of colorful food stations.
“We were so impressed at how the Vietnamese cook their food,” Yu said. “And we really wanted to share the taste with our fellow Filipinos.”
By chance, Yu’s friend knew a Vietnamese cook who knows the right exotic spices and tastes of Vietnamese cuisine. He nd his friend brought the cook to the Philippines to become the chief cook for Pho Sai Gon, which literally means “rice noodles from Saigon.”
Some of Yu’s customers are Vietnamese locals who came all the way from the Vietnam Embassy in Manila to taste a serving of home.
Asked about what keeps his career cooking, the former varsity basketball player said it’s his sense of teamwork.
“Communicate well in business. Be your business be food or garments, you have to connect with everyone and make them focus on your specialty,” Yu said.