AFTER an injury layoff that nearly sent him into an early retirement, Jason Ballesteros is slowly getting back in shape physically and psychologically.
The former Barako Bull reserve player took a four-month break due to a muscle injury in his left knee but is back with Jumbo Plastic in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup, where he is slowly regaining his lost form and confidence.
"Masaya syempre na nakabalik ako," said the 28-year-old, who was selected seventh overall by Meralco in the 2011 draft. "Dati mag lakad lang ika-ika na ako, ngayon thankful kasi buhay ko may basketball pa rin."
The 6-foot-7 Ballesteros admitted he had thought of turning his back on the game because of the injury, but is pleased to have decided to persevere.
Now the former Smart Gilas mainstay is looking to work his way back to the pros.
"Nawalan ako ng gana, kaso naisip ko pamilya ko, paano ko sila susuportahan kung wala ako sa basketball," said Ballesteros, who was sent to Barako in the Carlo Sharma trade but failed to stick with the Energy.
The former San Sebastian standout said that he is thankful for the second chance in the developmental league.
Ballesteros admitted he still cannot move the way he did before, but vows to give his hundred percent each time he plays for the Giants.
"Nagpapasalamat din ako syempre sa mga coaches ko," he said. "Ibabalik ko din sa kanila ang tiwala nila kasi kinuha nila ako kahit injured ako."
Now, he is motivated by his dream of returning to the big league.
"After dito balak kong bumalik sa PBA," he said. "Kaya ginagalingan ko dito para yung kumpyansa ko bumalik. Kukunin ko muna dito sa D-League para sa PBA buo na."