FOR much of his collegiate career at Far Eastern University, Raymar Jose never really stood out as the 'man.'
Years of hardwork, however, is starting to pay off with impressive stints in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) and the PBA D-League and now his inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas pool.
"Para sa akin sobrang saya ko kasi malaking opportunity ito para sa akin," said Jose after his first Gilas practice since being called up along with fellow amateur stars Kobe Paras and Kiefer Ravena.
"Sobrang dami player tapos ako napili ni Coach Chot (Reyes). Napakalaking blessing nito. Siguro hard work ko yung napansin nila kaya napili nila ako dito," he added.
Jose turned heads when he led an FEU side that had just lost Mac Belo to the Final Four last year, impressing with his sheer hustle on the boards and work rate in and around the paint.
He then elevated his game further when he joined the Kaohsiung truth in the ABL and Cignal in the PBA D-League, proving that he's not just a bright prospect for the PBA draft, but a possible Gilas player.
With his training at Cignal and Gilas, Jose now has to attend two practices in one day. But that is no issue for the the workhorse from Negros Occidental.
"Medyo okay naman. Masaya kasi nakaka-dalawang practice ako sa isang araw kaya kailangan ko ng tamang balance ng rest at effort. Kailangan magpahinga rin," he said.
Aside from being named to the pool, Jose is just delighted to be reunited with old faces in former FEU teammates Carl Bryan Cruz, Mike Tolomia and Mac Belo who's also part or the pool.
"Masaya ako kasi nasa PBA na sila, ibang level na sila. Sarap sa pakiramdam na naging teammates kami ulit. Basta ang saya na nakasama ko silang lahat."