FORMER University of Santo Tomas point guard Jeric Fortuna believes the experience of playing in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) prepared him well for his transition to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
By suiting for 19 games with reigning ABL champion San Miguel, the 5-foot-7 Fortuna noted how he learned a lot while playing alongside league MVP Asi Taulava and Finals MVP Chris Banchero.
“We really respect him (Taulava). He sets the tone for us dahil kahit siya na `yung senior sa team, siya pa rin `yung nag-pu-push sa amin,” said Fortuna, who is turning 22 on November 25.
“Maganda ang attitude niya kasi nagagawa niya ang gusto niya at his age kaya we want to be like him. Kumbaga, si Asi, parang ageless,” he added,
As the Beermen’s third-string point guard, Fortuna also admitted learning the ropes from Banchero.
“Nakita ko sa kanya (Banchero) ang work ethic niya. Whatever he does, go hard siya palagi. He’s always serious in training kaya what he does in practice, nagagawa niya sa game,” recalled the cat-quick former UST Tiger.
“He doesn’t slack off in practice, kaya sa game, napakagaling niya.”
So far, Fortuna’s fine pre-draft performance at Barako Bull has drawn praise from Energy Cola active consultant Rajko Toroman, enhancing his chances of being picked early in the November 3 draft.
Fortuna himself said he gained some experience attending a few of Barako Bull’s practices which he hopes could augur well for him as he tries to realize his dream of playing in the pro league.
“It’s just a new experience (practicing with PBA players). Noong una, medyo nahihiya pa, pero `yung team ng Barako Bull mababait eh. At ease lang ako. I think I did well naman kaya I’m just excited with the new experience in the PBA,” he said.
Fortuna averaged 3.0 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists as the Beermen’s third option at the point guard position behind the solid backcourt rotation of Banchero and veteran Leo Avenido.
The star-studded Beermen swept the Indonesia Warriors in three games to win the ABL championship last June.