Gino Jumao-as said that he is drawing inspiration from the sporting glory of Olympian weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz when he enters the 2016 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Rookie Annual Draft on Sunday at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita in Manila.
“It was a breakthrough. Her (Diaz) Olympic performance was really inspiring for all the athletes who wanted to rise from poverty,” the 24-year old, 6’3, Jumao-as told The Manila Times. “Everybody wanted to be like Hidilyn. It only means that there is nothing impossible in this life as long as you love your work. You just have to pursue your dream through hard work.”
Jumao-as, a member of the Mindanao Aguilas in PBA Developmental League, is hoping that his name will be called from among the 55 applicants, adding that it is not important even if he’ll be selected in the latter part of the draft.
“Marc Barroca and RR Garcia of Star Hotshots also inspired me. They also rose from poverty just like Diaz. I’m doing my best to play basketball everyday for my family and love ones in Zamboanga. I gained my strength from them and from God. I’m hoping God will help me,” Jumao-as said.
Meanwhile, hoops fans are focused on emerging top overall pick Mac Belo.
“We are going to pick Belo that’s one thing for sure. We are still going to decide what to do in our regular pick,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac.
The other notable names in Sunday’s draft are Chris Javier of University of the East, Von Pessumal of Ateneo, Arnold Van Opstal of La Salle, Jio Jalalon of Arellano University, Kevin Ferrer of University of Santo Tomas and Filipino-Canadian Matthew Wright, among others.
A prelude to Sunday’s draft, the rookies went through various skills performance test in the two-day Gatorade Hoops training camp among them lane agility drill, 3/4 court sprint, max-medicine ball throw, vertical leap test, max vertical leap test and shuttle run. The rookies displayed their hoops skills in the second day of training camp.
“I’m a bit nervous and overwhelmed but excited,” said Pessumal. “It is now one step closer to achieving my dream to play in the PBA,” said Javier.
Mapua’s 6’4 forward Joseph Eriobu said he is hoping to be chosen by any PBA team. “Not only to be drafted but I’m also hoping to get a contract from any PBA team. That’s the goal so far. I’m happy with this experience.”