JERIC Fortuna was spotted watching at the back of the Blackwater Sports bench on Tuesday in the PBA D-League, but vowed never to return to his former team in the developmental league after being picked by Barako Bull in the PBA Draft.
“Ayoko nang bumalik,” said Fortuna with a wide grin.
Fortuna formally joined the PBA ranks on Tuesday when he signed a contract with Barako Bull. But with the Energy Colas heavy in the guard spot, Fortuna said he will treat his first year in the PBA as a learning experience as he tries to stay in the pros.
“Sa ngayon, kaming tatlo ni Denok (Miranda) and Jonas Villanueva (sa point guard). So ako, I’m just trying to learn from them,” said the former University of Santo Tomas star.
Playing as a back-up guard is nothing new for Fortuna after playing the same role behind Chris Banchero with the San Miguel Beermen in the Asean Basketball League. Fortuna now looks forward to playing with Miranda and Villanueva, who both have been in the PBA for many years.
“Sila batak na sa PBA. I’m not worrying about playing time. Bata pa naman ako. Gusto ko, may matutunan din ako sa kanila. I hope to grow with the experience,” said Fortuna.
The Energy Cola also made intriguing moves in the offseason, trading away their fourth, fifth, and sixth overall picks to obtain veteran players instead of infusing young blood into the rebuilding squad. Fortuna, however, preferred not to look at it in a negative way.
“Siguro as a rookie, malaking tulong sa akin ‘yun na maraming veterans. ‘Yung environment, nakikita ko how they work, iisipin ko na ‘yun ang kailangan ko sa PBA. For me, it’s a good thing,” said Fortuna.
With the signing now official, Fortuna just couldn’t wait to help the team in any way.
“I’m very happy. At first, hindi ako makapaniwala na part na ako ng team. I’m very excited,” Fortuna said.