FOLLOWING the success of June Mar Fajardo in the PBA, a former teammate during his college days in Cebu is looking to join him in the pro ranks soon.
Former University of Cebu point guard Brian Heruela, who made quite an impression among scouts in the recent PBA D-League Aspirants Cup for Big Chill, is planning to apply for the PBA rookie draft once he rounds out his stint with the Superchargers next conference.
"After this conference," Heruela said when asked by when he will turn pro.
Heruela was actually the point guard when Fajardo suited up for University of Cebu in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) under its coach and former PBA cager Rhoel Gomez.
Fajardo was eventually drafted by Petron in the PBA where he became one of the big reasons for the Boosters’ resurgence. He was also part of the Gilas Pilipinas team in last year’s Fiba-Asia championships that finished runner-up to Iran.
The 24-year-old Heruela said he is proud of what the 6-10 Fajardo has accomplished in so short a time in the pro league, and hopes to enjoy the same success someday.
“Both of us, galing from Cebu and now he (Fajardo) is really doing well in the PBA. I’m thinking about myself, too, that I can do it and follow his footsteps in the PBA,” said Heruela.
“Me and June Mar, we played together and we kinda prepared ourselves for the next level. And now seeing him in the PBA doing really good, I’m happy for him, too.”
Heruela had a breakout performance for Big Chill in the Aspirants Cup where he posted near triple-double numbers every game. He even became one of the candidates for the Conference MVP award won by NLEX’s Garvo Lanete.
The wide-bodied point guard said being a candidate for the Conference MVP plum is definitely a big boost to his confidence as he bids to make it to the country's biggest league.
“I think its good for me especially since hindi ako naglaro sa Manila, hindi ako kilala. It’s a good opportunity for me,” said Heruela.
After his stint in the Cesafi, Heruela has moved to Manila to pursue his PBA dream.
“There is a lot of opportunity for basketball here,” said Heruela on his decision to move to Manila. “There is more exposure here. It is like one step closer to the PBA. It’s much closer here to play in the PBA than in Cebu so I decided to move.”
Big Chill's loss to NLEX via sweep in the last D-League conference is serving as Heruela's prime motivation as he prepares for the Foundation Cup.
In fact, Heruela has started to work out by himself at the Headstart Sports Academy in SGS gym, Quezon City where Big Chill practices.
“I’m more motivated now because I’m one step away from the championship. Hopefully, we could come back stronger and redeem ourselves,” said Heruela.