BIG man Jake Pascual hopes it’s not a case of sophomore jinx.
Despite a modest season that saw him land in the top 10 of major statistical categories among rookies, Pascual still found himself on the trading block and on the move to a new team starting his second year in the PBA.
The center out of San Beda was dealt by Barako Bull in a four-team trade headlined by Joe Devance's tranfer to Ginebra. Pascual ended up being acquired by Star Hotshots.
The 26-year-old from Ramos, Tarlac admitted initially getting shocked at being traded.
“Nabigla ako kasi galing pa ako sa team building ng Barako. The day after ng team building, may tumawag na sa akin, na-trade na pala ako,” he recalled.
Taken 8th overall pick by Barako Bull in the 2014 draft, Pascual thrived in a veteran-laden Energy side of coach Koy Banal as a freshman.
In 36 games he played for the team, he started 19 times and averaged 6.2 points (8th among rookies) and 5.1 boards to finish second behind GlobalPort’s Stanley Pringle in rebounding among first-year players.
He posted a career-high 22 points in the Energy’s win over KIA Motors (now Mahindra) during last year’s Philippine Cup.
Among the rookies, Jake was fourth in total field goals (96-of-250) and otal free throws made, fourth in steals and blocks, eighth in assists, and fifth in minutes played (23 minutes per game).
Notwithstanding the decent numbers, Pascual understands every player is indispensable, adding trades are part and parcel of the pro league’s business side.
“Sabi ko nga sa sarili ko part ng professional basketball yan (trades). May good side at may bad side na mangyayari kaya its how you embrace it, paano mo tanggapin, paano ka mag-adjust sa game mo at sa laro mo,” said Pascual, who made it to last year's PBA Press Corps All-Rookie team along with Pringle, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Chris Banchero, and Jericho Cruz.
Now he’s starting all over again for the Hotshots under rookie coach Jason Webb. Pascual said he’s still adjusting to the Star’s system and to his new teammates.
But he was vocal enough to talk to Webb the first time he arrived in the multi-titled team to express his willingness to learn and do whatever his coach wants him to do with the Hotshots.
“Continuous adjustment pa rin, first few games may mga lapses pa ako,” he said. “Pero pagdating ko pa lang, we (coach Jason) already talked about sa role ko, yung maitutulong ko sa team. Sinabi ko yung part ko na kung ano ang gusto niyang ipagawa sa akin, doon ako.”