JR Quiñahan not only left 'Extra Rice,' he also totally dropped rice from his diet
JR Quinahan says he lost 12 pounds since going on the 'Ketogenic' diet. Karlo Sacamos

AS the lights at the Hoops Center went off, one by one, after a grueling GlobalPort practice session late Wednesday afternoon, JR Quiñahan still had the energy to gather himself on one side of the court and run some laps crosscourt before cooling down.

The only other player putting in some extra work was 24-year-old Terrence Romeo on the other side of the court, honing his outside shot.

So he may be almost a decade older than Romeo, but Quiñahan showed he can keep up with the Batang Pier superstar as far as logging in extra time after training is concerned.

“Matagal na yan (extra work na ginagawa ko). Maintenance lang,” Quiñahan said after finally calling it a day. “Kasama sa trabaho natin yan eh, para pag dating sa game, hindi tayo mapapagod agad. Kasi alam mo naman, mga bata (ang kalaban), so kailangan talaga sumabay.”

“Hindi naman tayo matanda,” the 32-year-old cager insisted with a smile. “Para makasabay lang. Iba kasi yung lakas at bilis ng mga bata eh, kaya konting extra.”

Quiñahan credits a lot of his seemingly boundless energy to the “Ketogenic” diet he has been following since the start of the PBA’s 42nd season.

The recent Batang Pier trade acquisition related that it was Ginebra forward Joe Devance who recommended to him the diet that restricts the intake of carbohydrates, including rice, pasta, and bread.

“Kasi nung nakita ko nung tune-up namin, parang ang payat niya kasi eh, so tinanong ko siya kung anong ginawa,” Quiñahan said. “Tapos mayroon rin kaming iniinom na powder pampabilis ng (metabolism).”

“Yung fats nga (ang pwede sa diet na) pinapakain eh,” he revealed. “Okay lang, kasi parang ang ibu-burn ng katawan mo, yung fats, kaysa carbs at mahuhuli yung fats.”

So strict was Quiñahan that he still stuck to his eating routine even during the holiday break (he asked permission from coach Franz Pumaren to spend New Year’s Eve in his native Cebu, resulting in him skipping practice on January 1).

“Wala (carbs), kasi part sa diet ko,” the University of Visayas product said. “Kumain ako lechon konti tapos karamihan isda, kasi sa Cebu, fresh, malalaki, at mura lang. Yung iba, tumikim lang ako, pero hindi naman bawal sa akin yun, kasi yung sa diet ko, ang bawal dun lahat ng carbs – pasta, tinapay. Kaya puro ano lang, itlog, protein.”

And why would he stop if he keeps seeing the results? From weighing 235 pounds at the start of his stint at GlobalPort, the 6-foot-6 Quiñahan said he’s now down to 223, losing 12 pounds in less than two months.

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His progress has even encouraged teammates Josh Urbiztondo and Mike Cortez to follow the same diet.

But asked if he feels a lack of energy without carbs in his body, Quiñahan admitted he felt some negative effects at the start.

“Nung first two weeks, mahihilo ka tapos magkakasakit ka, magkaka-flu. Yung ubo ko nga, parang almost two months yata bago nawala eh,” he admitted. “Parang maninibago yung katawan mo eh. Yung system ng katawan mo, parang walang bitamina.”

“Pero nasanay na rin,” he was quick to add. “Tuloy-tuloy lang, okay naman eh. Nakakatulong naman. Mas active ka, matagal ka mapagod.”

Now, if only Quiñahan and the rest of the Batang Pier can translate those lost pounds into won games for a team that has lost three of its last four games to drop to an even 3-3 win-loss card – starting with their game against Meralco on Friday.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos