BATANGAS guard Cedric De Joya is rarely the tallest guy on the basketball court, but he showed the biggest heart in clinching his team’s 81-79 comeback win over Wangs in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup on Tuesday.
With the game tied at 79-all in the dying seconds, the 5-foot-5 De Joya took matters into his own hands, charging to the basket from the opposite end before soaring for an off-the-glass floater over his bigger foes that went in as time expired, giving the Batanguenos their second straight win.
De Joya, who finished with 14 points, later said he was hardly concerned about the size disadvantage. For him, all that matters is doing his role for the team.
"Nakaka-intimidate nung una kasi malalaki yung kalaban mo e. Kaso kalaban mo yung sarili mo pag kinabahan ka e, walang mangyayari sa 'yo nun. Kailangan ko lang kumayod ng kumayod," he said.
Working hard to earn his place among giants in the basketball court has been something De Joya has done throughout his basketball journey. But he has never imagined catching a break as big as this one.
After all, the Calaca, Batangas native was already happy playing for his hometown's university.
When Batangas coach Eric Gonzales called for a tryout before the Aspirants' Cup last year, he just couldn't let an opportunity of that magnitude slip through his fingers.
"Nung nagpa-try out yung Batangas, buti nakuha ako. First time ko nga makalaro dito sa Manila e," he said.
Now De Joya is making the most of his D-League stint and is hoping to turn heads and make the PBA.
He knows a PBA stint is a longshot, but the 23-year-old De Joya is taking the shot anyway, the same way he soared for that game-winner without hesitation or regrets.
"Siyempre gusto ko rin mapakita sa lahat na kahit maliit ako, kaya ko. Gusto ko rin makapaglaro sa PBA one day, pero masaya na ako na nakalaro na ako sa D-League. Hindi pa ako kontento dito pero masaya na ‘ko," he said.