RYAN Wetherell is looking to finally nail his PBA dream the second time around with his solid showing for Tanduay in the PBA D-League.
Despite being selected in the fourth round by GlobalPort in the 2015 draft, the 27-year-old Wetherell found himself without a team even as he topped the sprints, lane agility, and vertical leap tests in the draft combine.
And before that, the former University of Southern California player had an impressive stint in the upstart Filsports Basketball Association (FBA) where he scored 32 points while playing for a team owned by former PBA player Nic Belasco, which pushed him to apply for the PBA draft.
Wetherell admits that the initial PBA snub hurt him at first but he has long made peace with his fate, focusing instead on playing better than ever now that he can showcase his skills in a much bigger stage — the PBA D-League.
“Of course, I’m frustrated. Everyone would be in that situation,” Wetherell said.
“But I also understand that no one really got a chance to see me play because I wasn’t eligible to play in the D-League last conference,” he said.
Tanduay coach Lawrence Chongson also revealed that the team could have signed Wetherell, who practiced with the squad prior to his FBA stint, earlier but his papers weren’t in order yet at that time.
Still, Wetherell impressed Chongson a lot that the veteran coach signed him immediately as soon as he was eligible.
“Hindi nawawala sa akin ‘yung two and a half months niya sa amin to think na dumaan siya sa emotional letdown kasi na-draft siya tapos hindi nangyari ‘yun (mapunta sa PBA),” said Chongson.
But Chongson was also quick to warn Wetherell not to look beyond his Tanduay stint yet if he plans to succeed in making it to the pros.
“Lagi ko rineremind sa kanya na ang PBA, destiny ‘yan. If you start playing D-League, thinking na papasok ka sa PBA, maapektuhan ‘yung team natin. Dapat eto (team) muna ang isipin mo,” Chongson said.
So far, Chongson’s words appeared to have stuck on Wetherell, who is averaging 11.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists for the Rhum Masters in the ongoing conference, determined more than ever to prove his worth.
“I just kinda jumped in the draft after playing in the FBA and no one really had an idea so now this is my opportunity to showcase what I can do,” said Wetherell.
“I’m not looking to score. I want to help the team win whether it’s scoring or assists or getting rebounds, my focus is to give the team the victory,” he added.