JAKE Pascual’s transfer to Phoenix Pulse led to several reunions for the former San Beda cager.
The trade that sent Pascual from Alaska to the Fuel Masters for a draft pick reunited him with former Aces coaches Louie Alas and Topex Robinson along with former teammates Calvin Abueva, Jaypee Mendoza, and Davon Potts.
Aside from that, Pascual will be teaming up with former teammates at Barako Bull, where he spent his rookie year after being selected eighth overall in 2014. The Energy later became the Fuel Masters after Phoenix Petroleum purchased the franchise in 2016.
One of his former teammates from that Energy squad in Willy Wilson, who is now one of the assistant coaches of Phoenix entering the 2020 season.
While saddened that Wilson will no longer be playing next season, Pascual said he is happy to be under the former La Salle standout, who he considered as a mentor during his days with Barako Bull.
“Nagulat ako si Willy as a coach na. Akala ko magiging kakampi ko siya kasi siya ‘yung parang naging mentor ko nung rookie year ko sa Barako as one of our veterans,” said Pascual.
Based on his experience though, Pascual has no doubt that the team will be learning a lot from Wilson as he transitions into an assistant coach.
“More on sa mga skills siya ngayon, hindi lang sa akin, sa lahat. Makikita mo lahat ng mga players nagwo-work hard para makatulong sa team,” said Pascual.
Pascual spent three years at Alaska, which explains his anxiety after being informed about the trade.
“Nung una, siyempre malungkot din,” said the 31-year-old Pascual. “May halong malungkot na masaya kasi nandoon na ‘yung brotherhood namin sa Alaska.
"Eventually, malalaman mo na kahit sinong player naman, kapag nagte-trade, may lungkot at excitement kasi may bago kang team. Wala naman akong masamang ginawa sa Alaska. Part of our PBA life na ‘yun as a player na dadaan sa trade para sa better opportunity at bagong surroundings.”
Phoenix Pulse coach Louie Alas said Pascual will play a key role for the Fuel Masters, especially off the boards with Abueva still suspended by the league.
Pascual is looking forward to fill that gap with the help of Alas and assistant coaches led by Robinson, a former Alaska assistant himself.
“Excited na rin ako. Nakapag-adjust na rin ako for this coming conference. Lagi kaming naghahanda. Team chemistry na lang. Ready naman ako all the time,” said Pascual.
“Sila coach Louie at coach Topex, alam na nila laro ko. May mga konting tweak din (sila na gagawin). Kailangan din natin mag-grow as a player. My goal is to help my team. Gagawin ko makakaya ko para makatulong sa team,” he added.