GINO Jumao-as has fellow Zamboangueno RR Garcia to thank for as he seeks to be picked in the PBA draft later this month.
Jumao-as is one of 55 aspirants who applied for the regular PBA draft slated October 30 at the Robinsons Place Manila, following a long journey for the Zamboanga City standout in his basketball career.
Making it to Manila won’t be possible without Garcia, who brought him to Manila to try out for schools in Metro Manila after the two became part of the Southern City Colleges high school team in Zamboanga.
“Kaibigan ko siya, pina-tryout niya ako. Siya nagpapakain sa akin dati. Kaya malaking pasalamat ko sa kanya,” said the 24-year-old Jumao-as.
Garcia helped opened doors for Jumao-as, who played for San Sebastian in high school where he figured in the NCAA finals. He once scored 38 points in the NCAA championship series but lost to a San Beda Cubs squad powered by Baser Amer and Chris Javier.
Jumao-as also made Team B of Garcia’s school FEU in college before moving to University of the East. He recently suited up for ZC Mindanao Aguilas in the PBA D-League.
He is now seeking the biggest break of his career—being picked in the PBA draft.
The 6-foot-3 Jumao-as said he is inspired by his fellow Zamboanguenos like Garcia in chasing his dream of making it to the PBA.
“Sila ang inspiration ko dahil naging teammate ko na rin sila sa Zamboanga. Kung kaya nila, kaya ko rin,” said Jumao-as.
Jumao-as said he has been working on his game in order to improve his chances of making it to the pros.
“Pina-practice ko ‘yung depensa kasi ‘yun ang puwede kong maipagmalaki, kung paano depensahan ang mga shooters at mga stars,” said Jumao-as.
The former UE guard said his stint with the Aguilas was a big boost for him in honing his skills.
“Malaking tulong din sa akin kasi dun ako nagkaroon ng confidence. Parang semi-pro na rin kasi ang D-League, malalabas mo na ‘yung abilidad mo sa laro,” said Jumao-as.
Jumao-as vowed to work even harder if he gets selected in the PBA draft.
“All out ako sa practice. May offense rin naman ako pero maaasahan nila ako sa depensa,” said Jumao-as.