TERRENCE Jones said the presence of his son Ajani gave him added motivation to continue leading TNT this 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
"He said he wanted a win. I got him that and I'm happy that he's here," he said after his eight-year-old son watched him lead the KaTropa to a 98-83 win over Magnolia to snare the top seed in the playoffs. "Definitely a motivation."
Jones was unstoppable on Wednesday with his 26 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, five blocks, and one steal as he helped TNT finish the eliminations on an eight-game winning streak for a 10-1 win-loss record.
It was the first time since 2016 PBA Governors' Cup that the flagship franchise of the MVP Group will head to the playoffs as the top seed.
But more than giving his Fil-Am son an unforgettable first experience in the PBA, what mattered more for Terrence was Ajani getting a good feel for the Philippines, the home country of his mother and her family.
Ajani was so excited to go to the games he hardly slept, Jones said.
"He's excited all day. He's been up since 5 a.m. so he's tired now, but he had a great time in the practices and at the games so I'm very happy he's here," he said.
The young Jones has inevitably attracted a lot of interest, too, owing to his Fil-American heritage.
Little is known about his mother's background or lineage since insiders bared she and Jones are no longer together. But that hasn't stopped basketball officials from taking an interest in the kid.
After all, he's the son of a legit NBA-caliber player.
"Yes, we will work on it," said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio, pointing out that the basketball body has been encouraging Fil-foreign prospects around the world to secure Philippine passports before turning 16 to comply with a Fiba rule.
Gilas Pilipinas team manager Gabby Cui said the elder Jones is amenable to the idea.
"We're working on it," said Cui, who is also concurrent TNT KaTropa manager. "Terrence Jones wants [it]. But it's more of going through the process now of getting the passport for Ajani."
The kid, it turns out, is also enjoying his stay in the country.
"He loves it. He's been eating food that's from here like he has back home because his grandmother makes it," Jones said. "He's just happy to be here, to be in a different environment, and learn and I'm excited for him."