CALVIN Oftana grew up watching the likes of James Yap and Jeff Chan, so he has a fairly good idea on how big of a pride it is to represent Negrenses in the PBA.
As he takes the next step in his basketball career, the Dumaguete-born forward knows better than to put pressure on himself to match the pair's accomplishments.
"Mga stars na sila sa PBA," the 25-year-old said. "Di ko iniisip na ako yung next na Negrense na sisikat."
All that matters for Oftana is to make his provincemates proud.
"Basta sa akin, gusto ko lang gawin lahat ng makakaya ko. Kung maging proud sila sa ginagawa ko, okay na ako doon," he said.
But this early, Oftana already has.
After winning two titles with San Beda, he continued his ascent as he won the NCAA Season 95 MVP in 2019 and earned a call-up from Gilas Pilipinas.
Oftana said he consulted some of his seniors in the national team before making the decision to leave the Red Lions and apply for the March 14 draft.
"Kinausap ko yung mga taong malapit sa akin, yung mga kuya ko sa Gilas, and kaya naman ako nag-decide na magpa-draft na dahil na rin sa family ko," he said.
San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez was also consulted. "Hindi siya nagkulang sa pag-remind sa akin sa mga bagay na kailangan ko sa future ko."
This early, pundits expect the 6-5 forward to be called either in the special Gilas round or in the first round of the draft proper.
Oftana said he isn't too worried about his place in the draft order.
"Hindi mahalaga sa akin kung pang-ilang pick ako. Basta kung saan man akong team, magtatrabaho lang ako hanggang sa kaya ko," he said.