AFTER a short offseason that felt like a lifetime for Dylan Ababou, the former University of Santo Tomas star is back better and stronger than ever.
Ababou said he felt all the anxiety go away after an impressive season debut on Sunday afternoon, when he scored 16 points in 17 minutes of action while making three three-pointers in Barangay Ginebra's 86-69 victory over San Mig Coffee at the Big Dome.
The versatile swingman, who was coming off the first ACL injury of his career, admitted he was filled with uncertainty in the offseason when his name was dragged in a blockbuster trade that had Ginebra acquiring the fourth pick in the rookie draft from Barako Bull.
"Oo na-dishearten ako kasi maraming mga rookies na dumarating, mga players na umuusbong so malaking bagay yung one year na nawala ako," said the former Gilas mainstay.
Making the most of his second chance after veterans Rico Maierhofer and Willy Wilson - and not him - were sent to Barako Bull for the draft pick that turned out to be James Forrester, Ababou came off the bench and starred in the third-quarter run that keyed the Ginebra win.
"Very important na nangyrai sa akin ('yung ACL injury) sa past," he told Spin.ph. "Na-down ako, pero parang spring 'di ba? The more you are down, the higher you bounce back."
Deeply religious, Ababou is now fully convinced all the trials that came his way happened for a reason.
"Plano talaga ni Lord na ma-down ako sa buhay ko para mas lalo kong ibigay ang best ko mas mag strive harder," said the Ginebra swingman.
The 2009 UAAP MVP admitted his injury made him doubt himself, specially since younger players have emerged in the time that he was recovering from his injury..
That's the reason why he badly needed the confidence boost that came with Sunday's big game.
"Sobrang thankful ako kay Lord kasi sobrang kailangang-kailangan ko 'yung game na 'yun para ma-regain ko yung confidence ng team ko sa akin, ng management sa akin, ng coaches at syempre sa confidence ko sa sarili ko," said Ababou.