JEFF Tajonera is done bouncing around in ‘ligang labas’ circuits following his stints in the college and amateur leagues as he has found a home with Euro-Med in the PCBL.
The 33-year-old Tajonera, one of Euro-Med's veterans seeing action in the Chairman’s Cup, was thankful for the PCBL's lenient age requirement in allowing players aged 30 and above for keeping his basketball career alive.
Tajonera had to settle for 'ligang labas' games and even some coaching on the side after being left unrostered despite his solid and serviceable showing for Adamson in the early 2000s and for several amateur leagues. Such nomadic basketball journey has made him value and cherish his return to competitive action with the PCBL.
“Siyempre, nagpapasalamat ako kasi nakabalik pa ako,” said Tajonera. “Kasi ‘yung mga nakaraang liga, may age limit. Suwerte at blessing din na nagkaroon ng Euro-Med at nakapasok pa,” said Tajonera, who played under Luigi Trillo- and Mel Alas-coached Falcons team from 2001 to 2005.
Tajonera, who played alongside the likes of Mark Abadia, Patrick Cabahug, and Marvin Poloyapoy with the Falcons in college, bared that he got the break to play for Euro-Med from its head coach Yong Garcia, his former mentor when he played in the now-defunct Liga Pilipinas.
“Nasa ligang labas ako kung tawagin. Si coach Yong, coach ko dati sa Liga Pilipinas. Tinanong niya kung gusto niya akong lumaro kaya sumama ako,” said Tajonera, who played for Tagaytay, Zamboanga, and Taguig in Liga Pilipinas until 2009.
The former Adamson forward is so far repaying the faith coach Garcia has in him as Tajonera is one of the hard-nosed players of Euro-Med, scoring 11 points in a recent loss to Mighty Sports. And despite being winless in three games, he is confident the team, composed of former San Beda import Ola Adeogun, Letran players Jomari Sollano, McJour Liub, and Bong Quinto, and veterans Alex Almario and Jopher Custodio, has all the tools to turn things around.
“Malakas ang team namin pero medyo nangangapa pa. Kailangan pa ng konting effort sa depensa at sa pag-execute ng play namin. Kapag nakuha namin ‘yun, mas malakas ‘yung team,” said Tajonera.