EVEN before he could officially join Barangay Ginebra, veteran banger Dorian Pena has already made one promise.
"I will not be papogi," he vowed.
The 37-year-old Barako Bull slotman confirmed that he is bound for Ginebra in a three-team trade will have JR Reyes joining San Miguel Beer and Justin Chua moving to the Energy, as reported by Spin.ph on Monday.
The wide-bodied Pena, who won three championships with San Miguel Beer in his career, said he has in fact already been told to report to Ginebra in practice on Tuesday afternoon.
But even before he could do so, Pena has already promised to work hard and get his hands dirty as he joins a struggling Ginebra team that is often criticized by fans as 'too soft,' or 'papogi' in colloquial terms.
“This I tell you … I am not pogi. And I will not be papogi,” the 6-5 bruiser assured Spin.ph. “I am not papogi and I am gonna win games. I am going to sacrifice my body out there to win.
“Please tell Ginebra fans that I am gonna play hard (for them) as I can.”
Pena, who sat out for almost eight months at Barako due to an Achilles tear, is expected to add muscle and toughness to the Ginebra frontline once the deal is approved by the Commissioner's Office.
He wasn't even supposed to play for Barako in the game against Ginebra on Sunday night since the deal had already been agreed on, but ended up on the court due to the foul trouble of Energy import Solomon Alabi.
The 6-6 banger ended up playing good defense on Ginebra import Michael Dunigan in the Energy's stunning 69-68 victory.
He vowed to bring the same work ethic to Ginebra.
“Energy? I’m just gonna play hard as I can and make sure I do the best I can on defense,” he said.
Asked if he can keep up with Ginebra’s run-and-gun offense, the 235-pound slotman said he has no doubts, saying, “Yeah, I can run. I’m used to it at Barako. Under coach Rajko (Toroman), we did a lot of running in practice and in the games.
“I want to bring more experience to the team like Mark (Caguioa) and Jayjay Helterbrand," he continued. “I am not the person who will score, but I will give them the needed presence inside.”
Pena also assured he won't be at Ginebra to be popular.
“I am not after the popularity here, I had my time to be popular. You can be popular, but you can’t win games. That’s nothing,” he said.
Here's full Spin.ph interview with Dorian Pena: