JAY-R Reyes recently paid a visit to San Miguel Beer practice at the Acropolis gym in Quezon City where he got to break a sweat more than in actual games.
“Nag-hi lang sa mga dating kasamahan, kasi kahit papaano, may pinagsamahan pa rin eh,” the veteran big man, now with Kia, said in a chat with SPIN.ph. “Kahit papaano, makapagpasalamat man lang para lang maayos.”
“May (chat) group naman kami, nagpaalam naman ako dun, pero iba pa rin yung magpaalam ka ng personal,” he added.
Now, Reyes has a chance to sweat as much as he does in SMB practices in games this time as he gets the opportunity to revive his career at Kia.
Stuck at the bench the last two years with SMB, the 33-year-old seeks to prove that he can still play in the PBA when given the opportunity that he is expected to get now with the Picanto, who acquired him in the controversial trade with SMB along with Ronald Tubid, Rashawn McCarthy, and a future pick for this year’s top pick.
“Kami nila Ronald, Rashawn, ever since naman nung sa San Miguel, ready kami eh, so kaya naming mag-compete eh,” Reyes said. “Kahit sa practice sa San Miguel, kami yung magkakasama sa second group, third group at kahit papaano, nakakasabay kami sa first group eh. Alam naman natin na yung first group ng San Miguel yung isa sa pinakamalakas sa PBA.
“So kahit papaano, kaya pa naman makipagsabayan,” Reyes, who is set to play for his seventh team entering his 12th year in the pros, added.
Reyes has proven that he can deliver when given the minutes, making an immediate impact in his rookie year in the league by averaging 12.5 points, 8.9 boards, and 1.6 blocks in 34.5 minutes for Welcoat on the way to making the 2007 All-Rookie team.
Still, Reyes insisted that he’s not out to be the main option on the offense of the Picanto, saying that everyone on the team has equal opportunity.
“Hindi naman (ako magiging) focal point. Syempre, beterano rin tayo, so kung ano ang ibigay sa game, yun yung mag-aadjust eh,” the 6-foot-7 center said. “Sa Kia naman, ang mga plays namin, kung sino ma-open, walang hinahanap na certain player para tumira eh. Yun yung kagandahan sa team namin.
“At kami ni Ronald, yung experience namin, madala namin,” he added. “At least yung mga natutunan namin, ma-share namin sa mga bata din.”
Reyes is eager to revive his career for his family, especially his kids, Tyler and Tiff – more than to prove doubters wrong.
“Hindi naman (proving doubters wrong),” Reyes insisted. “Iba’t-ibang tao, iba’t-ibang opinion, so para sa akin, tinitingnan ko lang sa positive side na kahit papaano, makakalaro ako, kasi yung kids ko, 7 and 8, mahilig na sa basketball eh, so ang mindset ko, makita nila akong maglaro talaga na matagal sa court.”
“Kasi baby pa sila nung time na yung playing time ko, heavy minutes, so hindi pa nila gaano maalala yun,” added the member of the 2009 Mythical Second Team. “Kahit naman ikuwento ko sa kanila, mas maganda yung makita nila. Yun yung pinaka-motivation ko rin.”