JAKE Pascual admitted he could get overeager as he faces Star on Wednesday night in an Alaska uniform in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Traded to the Aces for Rome dela Rosa early December after spending last season with the Hotshots, the junior big man faces his former team for the first time.
“Sana wala (gigil), pero di mo maiwasan yung gigil sa player lalo na kung kasama mo dati sila,” Pascual said after practice on the eve of the 7 p.m. tipoff. “Sana hindi mauna yung gigi, stay with the game plan lang.”
The holiday break only pumped Pascual up even more – not for anything else but to help the Aces, who last saw action on December 23 in a 109-100 loss to TNT Katropa.
Alaska and Star break their tie at 3-3 (win-loss) in the game.
“Napaganda (yung long break) kasi para mapaghandaan namin sila ng mabuti tsaka makapag-practice rin ako ng iba ibang plays nila sa Alaska, para makabisado ko yung mga skills,” Pascual, who has averaged 3.3 points and five boards 12.2 minutes in his first three games for the Aces, said.
“Excited ako sa game bukas," he added. "‘Di lang big game magaganap bukas kasi parehas kaming 3-3, kung sino manalo, aangat kung sino matalo mag-stay sa baba.”
Pascual insisted he has nothing personal against the Hotshots, where his progress was derailed after an impressive rookie season at Barako Bull.
“Para sa akin, wala naman kung against former team, basta magtratrabaho ako, maglalaro ng maayos,” the 28-year-old cager said. “Puro adjustments pa rin ako. Pinaghandaan namin to.”
“Nakakausap ko naman mga teammates ko kahit papaano, kung sino manlilibre sa Starbucks,” he added with a smile. “Sila Ian (Sangalang), sina Allein (Maliksi). Nagme-message pa rin kami, di naman nawala yung bonding kahit nalipat.”
Aces coach Alex Compton, though, believes Pascual will be extra motivated playing against his former team.
“I’m sure him and Rome both are. That’s always how it is,” Compton said. “But I think both those kids are winners, and Rome always played a hundred percent no matter what, he played a hundred percent in practice. And Jake’s the same type of guy, so those kids don’t need motivation. They’re workers.”