AT the age of 29, Jay-R Reyes said he will seriously consider retirement than leave Barangay Ginebra.
The former University of the Philippines Maroon told Spin.ph on Thursday that he has come to love the Ginebra organization and its fans so much that he no longer wants to see himself wearing another PBA jersey.
“Sobrang saya ko dito. Kasi pamilya talaga ang naging pagtanggap sa akin ng teammates ko pati ng coaching staff at management,” said the 6-7 slotman out of Tiwi, Albay.
“Sa totoo lang, sa tuwing may trade rumor, ipinipikit ko na lang 'yung mata ko para magdasal at ipanalangin na hindi ako yun,” Reyes said. "Ayoko na sa iba. Dito ko gusto."
He added: "Ayoko ng ma-trade. I found my home dito sa Kings. I love the welcome and the family here. Siguro kung mangyayari 'yon (trade) - knock on wood - baka mag-isip na ako mag-retire kahit 29 pa lang ako."
While other players demand playing time, Reyes said he is happy with the minutes he is getting with the league's most popular team, no matter if it is shorter than what he usually gets.
“Masaya ako sa playing minutes ko sa team. Kaya nga kahit ilan pa 'yun, sinisikap ko na suklian sila ng malaki, sa lahat ng bagay na ginagawa ko sa court,” he said.
“Parang challenge talaga sa akin ibalik tiwala nila to play hard and may ma-produce ako kahit ilang minutes lang ako sa floor,” added Reyes.
The Ginebra new boy said he is simply grateful for the faith the team has in him.
“Talagang natuwa ako kasi pinagkatiwalaan ako ng Ginebra. Imagine, marami nagsasabi na pababa ang laro ko in the previous seasons … pero kinuha pa rin nila ako. And they gave me the chance. Kaya talagang mas itinotodo ko ang laro,” he said.
The slotman is also aware that it was no love at first sight between him and Ginebra fans, which initially disapproved of the one-on-one trade that brought Kerby Raymundo to Meralco.
But Reyes said he is working hard to earn the fans' love.
“Nuong una, siyempre nahiya ako sa mga fans ng Ginebra. Kasi Kerby kapalit ko eh. Kaya 'yun ang isa pang motivation ko. Gagawin ko ang lahat para matutunan nila akong mahalin… sana nga mahal na nila ako ngayon,” Reyes said.
As for his role as the third wheel after Ginebra star big men Gregory Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, Reyes said he’d rather give the team some intangibles like defense and hustle plays.
“Wala sa akin 'yun. Sila naman talaga ang main men. Saka parehong magandang ang ginagawa nung dalawa … ang akin na lang talaga is i-complement yung game nila. Ibigay ang kulang pa. Happy na happy na ako nun,” he said with a smile.
Reyes and his wife Jenn are set to hold a Heroes for Hope event on Friday where autographed jerseys and memorabilia of athletes will be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to Yolanda aid.